All posts by www.survivalsullivan.com

TACTICAL TRAINING FROM AN AUSTRALIAN SOLDIER

Tactical training is one of the most important aspects of your prepping for a SHTF situation. Use the information in this article to start your training regime, or modify any training you may already be doing.

Training should be done to build a skill level, and also to maintain that skill level. Tactical training could be useful in a situation where you need to evade, or stay hidden from a threat. This training is also useful if you find yourself needing to neutralize a threat.

Training like this also helps to keep your mind in the game. Training for a wide variety of situations instills confidence in your ability, and keeps you actively thinking about your situation. Keeping your mind in the game and prepared is crucial, as your brain is the best tool you have in your arsenal.

This post will cover:

  • Fitness – physical training (PT) and battle fitness
  • Scenario based training
  • Movement – moving in the environment.
  • Know your area – how you can maintain the upper hand
  • Gear – what you may want and why
  • How to set up your gear and why
  • Cover Vs Concealment
  • Camouflage – using what’s around you

THE DEFINITION OF  TACTICAL

The first thing I would like to address is the word tactical. It seems to be thrown around out of context, often by marketers, and now has many meanings in common usage.

Once we agree on the meaning, we can begin to work on the training.

Google says the definition of tactical is:

  • relating to or constituting actions carefully planned to gain a specific military end.
  • showing adroit planning; aiming at an end beyond the immediate action.

So how do you as a prepper use tactical skills for a survival situation?

We need to train our skills, techniques and know-how for our survival in a tactical situation.

Often as a prepper the tactical situation is survival, as survival is the end we aim to achieve.

You may find yourself trying to evade a threat or enemy at a time when all you have is yourself to rely on. In a time like this you may need to move tactically to a safer place, or continually move until the threat is gone, or you are in a position to neutralize the threat.

You may find that you are unsure if you are dealing with friend or foe. Your tactical training may buy you time to find out, and leave you in a position to act safely no matter if you are confronted with a threat or not.

So let’s break our training down into two areas

  1. Physical training, ie. fitness, and
  2. Tactical training

PART ONE: FITNESS

Often, a tactical situation is uncomfortable and awkward, dirty, and dangerous from many influences. Fitness fits into your tactical training at the beginning as a way to deal with these issues.

Before starting any type of fitness training you should consult your doctor and make sure your training is appropriate.

FITNESS – Physical Training

Basic fitness ie. ”running shorts and shirt” type training is the starting point for fitness training. You need to be realistic as to where you are with your own fitness and start there. Any improvement you can make to your fitness, be it strength or stamina will be to your advantage.

If you need to start with a walk, that’s where you will start, if you are running ultra marathons each week, you will likely only need to maintain your fitness.

What fitness state do you need to aim for? The answer to this is, you need to be fit enough to sit or lay, or whatever, in a cramped position for a long time without moving or making a sound. You hope you are never in this situation, but you need to be able to do it.

You will also need a degree of endurance. A tactical situation may see you need to run for a period, walk or move for a long period and stop and stay still for a long period.

You fitness regime should have this end result in mind.

HOW?

Here are some basics:

Steady state cardio training:

  • Running
  • Walking
  • Rowing
  • Cycling
  • High intensity intervals;
  • Sprinting
  • Kettlebell workouts
  • Jumping jacks
  • Rope skipping
  • …and more

FITNESS – BATTLE PT

This is where you take your fitness training and combine it with a tactical aspect. You train in your clothes and with the tools you expect you may use in a tactical situation.

This may include but is not limited to:

  • Protective clothing- long pants, boots, hats gloves
  • Bags, webbing and carriage equipment
  • Weapons and tools

If you expect to use it in a tactical situation – train with it.

HOW?

It can be as simple as introducing your bag, or your weapon, to your walking or running routine. I suggest building up your training in this way. There is no need to train in full gear all the time. DON’T OVER DO IT.

You can also add specific training in at this point. If you want to train with a weapon, be safe.

You could do some fire and movement exercises, start with no rounds or blanks.

Start by walking, then “reacting” – like going to ground, crawling to cover taking a shot and moving.

You can add this to a fitness regime also if you are fit enough. Make an obstacle course like this;

  • 10 squats
  • move to designated marker
  • go to ground, leopard crawl “take a shot” move
  • get up walk to a marker
  • repeat the process with 10 lunges (moving forward) instead of squats, or add your own variation as you need to.

This is training for fitness remember, but with the added benefit of conditioning yourself with your equipment.

This is also a great time to work out any issues with your gear. If your chest rig has a buckle that rubs on your skin and annoys you – fix it now. Also this is a great way to trial new gear that you haven’t used before.

moving through forest

PART TWO – TACTICAL TRAINING

MOVING AROUND

You may have started to practice movement in your battle pt, in this stage we take it further. We are aiming to move in different environments without being detected.

It starts with getting used to moving in the environment. If it is a conventional environment start by not walking on the path.

You need to get used to not using tracks and you need to get used to moving in this situation. You will find it hard to move silently.

Practice, practice, practice. You may never get it perfect but you should try to.

Don’t get yourself lost.

You can take just a step or two off the path and “handrail” it.

Be respectful of the area you are training in, don’t destroy it and don’t trample plants etc.

TIP – To move silently you should not trample anything anyway. Making a mark on the environment is also a way to be tracked.

No animal makes a noise when walking through the scrub, be it prey or predator. Humans walk on everything and give themselves away time and time again. Don’t be that guy.

If someone is following/tracking you, your ability to move silently through the environment may be the thing that sees you live another day.

If you are stalking food, your ability to move silently will be a great advantage when trying to get close to your prey.

SCENARIO BASED TRAINING

Scenario training may seem the best way to train for a tactical situation. To train successfully you should break the scenario into its elements. You can then structure your training something like this:

Practice element one, then practice element two, then create a scenario involving elements one and two.

Start basic and build to ever increasing difficulty of elements and scenarios.

And then go back to the basics again.

A SIMPLE SCENARIO TO GET YOU STARTED

Simple training could start with reaction. Reacting to a stimuli. It could be a gunshot, a movement or a noise. If you can work in a pair or team, this is great.

Move through an environment and have your partner dart out from behind something and move to a new position. You need to react, you should move to cover or concealment. At this point self evaluate and also have your partner evaluate.

Questions for you:

  • Is the spot you moved to cover or concealment?
  • Can you see what the “enemy” is doing , can they see you?
  • Do you have another move? Or are you now trapped?
  • The list goes on

While there is no right or wrong answers, training to make better decisions is what will give you the advantage.

MORE SCENARIO TRAINING

At this point you can see how important it is to have someone else to train with.

Who can you use?

Your kids and your wife and other family members are great, and can be extremely helpful. Other preppers and people interested in learning these skills are even better.

Here are a few scenario set ups you can use with your family members.

YOU REALLY MUST CONSIDER THE SAFETY OF YOUR FAMILY WHEN YOU DO THIS.

You can have your kids sit and wait in an area and try to sneak up on them.  You can make it a game if they are a little younger.

Keep it short, so they don’t get bored.

  • Have your kids wait on the edge of a wooded area, close their eyes and count to 10. You move to a point in the scrub and start moving towards them.
  • They should be trying to see you coming, tell them to yell out if they are sure they can see you or know where you are.

You can do this in an urban environment too, like if you have a few buildings around your house on your farm.

  • Have someone sit inside, maybe on the second story and set up the same type of scenario, this time, try to make it to the building and inside, maybe even all the way to the person looking for you.

You can do both these scenarios roles reversed. This way you get to have a breather and the kids get to test their skills at tricking mum and dad.

Watch closely what they do. They may have valuable lessons to teach, they will see the environment different to you, this perspective may be invaluable.

While these are simple scenarios, on paper they can become quite complex on the ground.

Involving your family in a fun way has many benefits for you and your family. Even if you don’t have to use the skills practiced, the bonding will last a lifetime and is invaluable to both you and your children.

Seemingly simple yet incredibly complex, the way you move and how you practice is a vital part of survival.

TYPES OF MOVEMENT

In this section we will focus on moving on your feet.

  • WALKING
  • RUNNING
  • CRAWLING
  • MONKEY CRAWL
  • LEOPARD CRAWL.

Monkey crawl from min. 3:50

As you can see it is a difficult thing to explain with words. Normally you would have your non master hand in a fist and use it to support your weight. Your master hand will hold your weapon. This method is a way of moving quickly while staying low.

Leopard crawl:

You can imagine how taxing this move can be, and rough on the body in some terrain. It is even harder with a rifle. You must practice to get it right. Putting the barrel in the dirt can render a weapon in-effective.

Each of these methods is useful in its own way, and training on the technique is as much physical as it is skills training.

Walking running and crawling I don’t think I need to explain. You may find the monkey crawl difficult, often shorter people are better suited to this technique. This method was widely used in Afghanistan.

The ability to get low enough to move along the little fences/walls that are everywhere over there was great. You reach the end of the wall and you are almost in a fire position and ready to attack or defend. You can also get to your feet quickly if you need to.

Leopard crawling is one of my favorite methods of movement. Being so low to the ground makes you a very hard target if you are taking fire and it also makes you very hard to see.

soldiers army basic training mud

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Terrain is a big factor for how you move. Being able to operate effectively in muddy areas, dry areas, hilly and steep slopes and flat and open ground is crucial to success.

Another aspect to consider is the vegetation. It can be almost impossible to move in very close vegetation. It certainly makes it difficult to move swiftly and quietly.

The best advice I can give you is to get out there and try it out. It really is something you have to work out for yourself.

In the jungles of South East Asia, we practiced moving with a small bush saw, machete, and a pair of secateurs. It is extremely slow and very hard to stay quiet.

When the shit hits the fan in these situations, you just have to move and that is a night mare. You should practice both moving slowly and cutting a path, and moving quickly to withdraw or attack.

Being able to move effectively and quietly and remain aware is something you learn by doing.

Later in this article we will talk about knowing your own environment. An advantage you may have that often soldiers don’t get.

Don’t become complacent, go out and find new areas with new challenges to train in. You never know where and when you will need to use these skills.

You may have to leave the comfort of your own area to seek help or resources. This may push you into terrain you have never seen before. Try to be ready for the challenge.

Rain – rain can be a friend and a foe

Movement in the rain can be difficult as you become wet and heavy. Water also sucks morale right out of a person. Wet clothes rub skin red raw, and this discomfort can be extremely difficult to deal with. Consider the effect it may have on other members of your party. If you have to move through the rain with your children these factors could be devastating to them and your mission.

The advantage of rain is noise. Rain masks your noise. Even for hours or days after rain, the ground, and leaf litter may stay moist and make your footsteps very hard to hear.

This is a great advantage that the average person doesn’t realize.

In heavy rain, your vision will be impaired. Visibility may drop to only a few feet and if you don’t have something to protect your eyes you may have to stop and stay still.

Tip: Hats, goggles, hoodies, scarfs and raincoats may help keep water out of your eyes. Be sure to pack them in your bug out bag as they are essential.

If you can see and your enemy can’t, you have a huge advantage. Make sure you can stack the odds in your favor if the situation pops up.

Practice training in the rain, and practice just being in the rain. Modern man is so sheltered, rain really puts some people off. Make rain your friend.

open road forest

KNOW YOUR AREA

As you can see, the training we have covered so far can be done in isolation or combined to train multiple aspects in one session. Even when practicing a skill in isolation, you may get insights into how to work other skills into your training.

I was once transported to a different base. The next morning we were woken and made to go for a run for forty minutes. As we warmed down, the senior digger asked us a few questions about the environment.

It was a test to see if we were just running for running sake, or using the opportunity to build a picture of our surrounds. It was a valuable lesson for a young soldier.

You are always on the clock.

While moving about your own area, if you are training or not, you should be soaking up the environment.

Including:

  • Landmarks
  • Features
  • People/activity
  • Tracks, paths and routes
  • What the terrain is like in certain weather conditions.

As mentioned before, soldiers train in many different environments. It is this training that gives them a reference point to operate from.

As a prepper, you can be fairly sure of the environment you will have to operate in.

Other people who live around you will also know this environment. You can gain an advantage if you are thinking know, and building your intel on the environment around you.

Knowing little things like:

  • The creek at the bottom of our road would likely flood with four hours of good rain.
  • One hour of rain and that area at “x” will become a slippery mess.
  • After a few weeks without rain the wooded area around my farm will be almost impossible to move in without making some kind of noise.
  • Someone moving through the area to the East will go past “Mrs Smiths” dogs and they will bark and carry on.

And so on and so on…

All these little tid-bits make up your intel picture. This can be a huge advantage in a SHTF situation. You can collect this information almost passively, but you must be aware that it is out there.

A visit to your neighbors to help mend a fence or cut up a fallen tree can be a source of valuable intel.

Pro Tip – write the information down. Keep a file or a spread sheet. Hand-writing information is best.

You are unlikely to pull the file out in a SHTF situation, but writing it and working on it will help the information sink in. This may help you recall the information at a time of need.

GEAR: WHAT YOU MAY WANT AND WHY

The topic of gear could go on forever. It is a personal thing and you also may have a few different load outs for different situations.

I will share some considerations for the basics. This is certainly not exhaustive, and I am sure that you can find many interesting videos and articles on the topic

While it is good – and fun – to look at all the new gear and what different people use, there are a couple of things you should think about.

You need to get used to your gear. You should be able to locate the items you have quickly, without looking and you should be able to do it in the pitch black of night or inside a darkened building or tunnel.

You should keep your gear simple.

There is nothing worse than carrying gear all over the countryside that you never use.

Do a quick audit every now and then. As you begin to see your pockets and pouches fill up ask yourself “do I need to carry this?”

It may be that you can pack the item somewhere else if you rarely use it. You may find that you can do away with it all together. Do consider the availability of these things in a SHTF situation.

Work with a basic kit for your webbing, you can always add something later if you need to. Basic ingredients to a webbing load out:

  • WATER
  • AMMO
  • WEAPON CLEANING KIT
  • TORCH
  • BLADE
  • CORDAGE
  • FOOD

I generally have one liter of water in my webbing. I would adjust as I need to. Hot and dry or extremely humid conditions demand more water.

You should also consider how much water you normally drink. If you are a heavy sweater and normally drink 2-3 liters of water an hour you will adjust accordingly.

Ammo is self-explanatory. A simple cleaning kit with a cloth and a bore snake and some CLP is usually all you will need

Pro tip – in wet and humid conditions a small piece of cloth soaked in CLP kept in a zip lock bag is convenient.

Likewise a shaving brush, with a tiny bit of CLP is great for dry and dusty environments.

A small torch that fits in the palm of your hand is great. I also like to have a small red light torch on one of my zippers as a back-up.

I generally carry a folding knife with a blade about two inches long. I have both my knife and my torch tied to a length of cord, and a carabiner clipping it into my pouch or pocket.

This is how I set up my knife and torches. Personally I like to carry an Australian MRE main meal, maybe some gum and maybe some M&M’s. Only enough to get me through a day. NOTHING that requires heating.

If you are moving with nothing but your webbing, you are not stopping to heat or cook a meal. Feel free to add to this list if you think it is necessary.

GEAR SET UP

Again I will keep this short and generic, as I don’t know your exact situation.

Right handed firers should have their main ammo stored on the left side of the body for easy access. If you are using a bolt action weapon, you may want to flip this idea around.

I suggest having a bandage of some sort in your top left-shoulder pocket. Water on your left side, food on your right.

You may need to stop for a quick sip of water in an intense situation. If your water is to your left, you can keep your master hand on your weapon, ready to lay down fire if needed. You won’t even think about eating if you are in any kind of danger.

If you are working as a team you should have your gear all set up the same.

Example:

I know where my bandage is, I know where my buddy’s bandage is, he knows where my bandage is. I don’t have to think about it, if he is hurt and the pressure is on it will come naturally to me because: His bandage is in his left pocket just like mine is.

Standardizing your gear carriage like this is a must.

COVER VS CONCEALMENT

Do you know the difference? You should. If you don’t – here it is in a nutshell:

COVER = something you can get your body behind, that will stop a round, at least the first few rounds.

If someone is shooting a .22 at you, cover will be different to what you will need to use if someone is shooting at you with a .308.

CONCEALMENT = is something you can hide behind so as not to be seen. If you are seen and shot at, the round can or may travel through concealment.

I doubt I need to go into further detail about this. Make sure you understand the difference.

Research what cover truly is, because it is not what they portray it to be in the movies.

A car door, for example won’t stop jack.

In fact most of a car will not stop a round.

A car is more concealment than cover. If in a situation where you are behind a car and someone is sending brass your way you will need to do something, like move to cover.

CAMOUFLAGE

There are two broad types of camo that you should be familiar with. Trying to hide and trying to blend in.

In a situation with a lot of people around, you may be best to blend in.

Having gear and clothing that is all of one color as opposed to disruptive pattern is what I would suggest for this type of situation.

WHY?

You may not want to draw attention to yourself. Being able to blend in and move freely could be of huge benefit.

If people identify you as a soldier or someone who can help them they may be a hindrance to your mission or a drain on your resources. If someone identifies you as being someone who can help, or as a prepper they may also see you as a target.

People may be desperate, and if it looks like they may be able to exploit you they will.

Having plain clothes and backpacks will make you look like everyone else. This may allow you to be left alone to do whatever you need to. It is worth thinking about, if not trying to implement.

If you can only afford one good jacket, pants pack or whatever, you may want to think about this angle.

Trying to be hidden is certainly more difficult in an urban environment. In nature, disruptive pattern gear works extremely well.

One advantage of not owning disruptive pattern items is that you can use them in both situations. Simply adding mud, dirt and leaves to a plain item can and will give it a disruptive pattern. You can also use paint but this will give a more permanent effect.

Adding some of the surrounding environment to your gear is well worth the effort if you are trying to hide.

Disruptive pattern or not:

  • Rubbing dirt into your gear is great.
  • Adding some leaves and branches with a rubber band or slipping it into your molle is also effective.

Be careful what sign you leave when you do this. Stripping one bush of all its leaves is an obvious sign someone is around.

Taking veg from the top of a small tree is also obvious. Adding the only yellow flower that is around is just stupid. Take from several different shrubs and take dirt from underneath low foliage.

Try to make sure it is not obvious that someone has been in the area.

WRAP UP

This article is far from exhaustive. Your training should evolve with your skills and the technology available to you.

Do not forget to train for the basics – like simple movement practice. Getting the basics right is the thing that wins all kinds of battles, from wars to car racing to a game of football or tennis.

I hope you can use this article to train better and become a better prepper.

The post TACTICAL TRAINING FROM AN AUSTRALIAN SOLDIER appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

16 Things to Stockpile for the Next Blackout

Major blackouts are more common now than ever before. Most of us have experienced a blackout for a few hours. A blackout is a power outage that can range from a few hours to months. They might happen because of a major storm, a hurricane, a transformer blowing, or other issues. It is a good idea for everyone to stockpile things for the next blackout.

You might be new on your preparedness journey or find it strange to prepare for an entire year without power. No matter where you are on your journey, I encourage you to prepare for at least a two-week period without electricity. Why? There are dozens of examples of this happening. If you live along the coast, a major hurricane can wipe out the power grid for multiple weeks. Earthquakes, major storms, and blizzards all frequently cause blackouts. Everyone is at risk.

Typically, it won’t take two weeks to get your power restored, but most Americans barely have enough food or supplies to last two days. You will be ahead of the curve by preparing for two weeks. Let’s take a look at things you need to stockpile to last those two weeks and beyond.

  1. Water

You need to have clean water to survive; everyone knows that. During a blackout, there is a chance your taps won’t work. There is also the chance that filtration systems set up may stop working, which means the water might be dirty or unsafe to drink.

It is crucial for every family to have a two-weeks supply of water stored. The general rule is one gallon of water per person, per day. To last two weeks, our family of five needs 70 gallons of water. It is also important to stockpile water for your pets as well. We have two dogs, a cat and a rabbit to consider, as well as livestock!

A Water BOB is a great investment as well. They go right into your bathtub. If you are expecting a large storm, fill it up. You can use the water later if the power doesn’t go out. You also want a way to filter the water if your taps are working. Purification tablets are a good choice.

  1. Source of Light

A source of light may seem like an obvious thing to want on your list. It would be nice to have solar power, but that isn’t financially possible for everyone. You will want to have flashlights on hand, as well as plenty of batteries. LED flashlights take one or two batteries and last a long time. Even the dollar store sells flashlights for cheap. Stock up on them!

Keep a solid stock of candles on hand as well. Taper candles are my favorite. They shine well and last for several hours. Plus, they are some of the cheapest candles aside from tea lights, which don’t last very long. Glow sticks last for 24 hours, are cheap, and perfect for kids who need to find their way through the dark.

One thing to think about is that a source of light during a blackout can be like a beacon. You want to avoid using light as much as possible in the evening. During the first few nights, people will have more lights available, but those will slowly go away over a few days or week. Invest in some black-out curtains for your living room. Your family can stay together in one room at night with the lights.

camping stove

  1. A Way to Cook

You need food. Room temperature food is no fun, and most food needs some preparing. If you happen to have a wood burning stove in your home, you are in luck. The rest of us aren’t so lucky. You might have a gas stove that will work, but there are a few other options that don’t require the grid.

A popular choice is a camping stove. You could also use a grill, but you have to stand outside to cook. You will need to keep lighters and matches on hand. If you opt to use a camping stove or grill, you will need to have fuel on hand. Keep a large enough stock to last a few days easily.

After you run out of fuel, cooking can be tricky. You could use fire, but smoke could alert those you don’t want around. Solar ovens are also a great tool to have, but they can be stolen if left unattended!

 

food supplies 100 dollars stockpile

  1. Food

Stockpiling food that doesn’t require cooking is a great idea. It allows you to conserve your cooking method. For example, while dried beans are cheaper, it takes a lot of cooking fuel to warm them up. Canned beans are easy to cook and could be eaten cold if needed. Here are some of my favorite foods to stockpile.

  • Protein shakes – just use water!
  • Peanut butter or almond butter
  • Crackers
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Powdered milk
  • Trail mix
  • Pretzels
  • Nuts
  • Canned fruit
  • Jerky
  • Canned beans and vegetables
  • Packages of pre-cooked and seasoned rice
  • Canned soup
  • Instant mashed potatoes & gravy
  • Canned beef, chicken, and tuna

Keep fresh fruit on hand. Most can last for two weeks when stored outside of the refrigerator, such as apples, melons, oranges, and pineapples. They make great snacks for your kids as well.

Step-by-step how to build a 1-year stockpile. Watch >>

  1. Source of Heat

If you live in the deep South, a source of heat may not be an issue. Since I live in Ohio, heating is important, especially if the blackout happens during the winter. For the first 24 to 48 hours, blankets, candles, and sleeping together can keep you warm. After that, you will need an extra source of heat.

If you have a wood burner or fireplace, you are in luck. There are some other choices, such as propane heaters. Many people purchase the Little Buddy heater. You will need to have extra canisters of propane available. It is also wise to keep a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in the room with you for protection. The other choice is a kerosene heater, but they pose a fire risk.

  1. Sanitation Needs

Germs and infections spread quickly in unsanitary places. There are a few things you can do in your house to keep it sanitized. Have a stock of paper plates, paper towels and disposable flatware. You don’t want to keep dirty dishes laying around.

You should also have cleaning wipes and sprays, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, disposable diapers, and toilet paper on hand. Something else to consider is if your toilet will flush without electricity. If you can, you can store water for flushing by adding it to the tank whenever it needs to be flushed. If the toilet doesn’t flush, you will need to stock up on heavy duty garbage bags and cat litter. You can put the garbage bag into an empty toilet or bucket. Put a layer of cat litter and add more after each time someone uses it. Then, put the bag outside, but don’t wait for it to get too heavy. You don’t want it to break.

  1. First Aid Kit

No matter what you are preparing for, you need a first aid kit. Inside of your kit, you should have all of the basic wound care items like antibiotic ointments, bandages, sprays, and gauze. You also want to keep pain relievers, cold medicine, allergy medication, cough syrup, and extra prescription medications on hand.

  1. Fuel for Your Car

When you start thinking about long-term blackouts, you realize that people will eventually start to migrate, looking for power or resources. I highly recommend that you stay where you are until you have to leave. That time may never come. If it does, gas stations won’t work. You need to have fuel stored for your vehicles. Ideally, you want enough fuel stored to travel within a 500-mile radius.

 

walther ppq gun

  1. Firearms and Ammunition

Most people are not prepared to lose power for two weeks. After a few days, people will become desperate. If they think you have something they could use, you may have to defend yourself and your family. The hope is that this never happens, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

  1. Coolers

Chances are everything in your refrigerator and freezer will perish unless you cook it up over the first few days of the blackout. However, you may have some medications that need to stay cool. A cooler, with jugs of water, can keep your medications at a lower temperature. If you are in the winter, you are in luck. You can create Zeer pot right now to use during a blackout.

  1. Cash

For the short term blackout, you will want to have cash on hand. If you do venture out and find any stores open, they can only take cash because of no electricity. Carry smaller bills, so it is easier to get what you need.

  1. Manual Tools

I love electric tools as much as the next person, but most are useless during a blackout. If you don’t have a manual can opener, you will struggle to open those cans of beans. I suggest having more than one! You also want to have regular manual tools. Drills are great, but they can’t be charged without power. You need a tool kit full of different sized screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers, nails, screws, a saw, and more. Keep the electric tools on hand for when power is restored.

  1. Boards for Your Windows

Many people board up their windows during a hurricane to prevent damage. During a blackout, boarding up your windows deters people from trying to break in and secures your privacy, along with those curtains I recommended. The fact is, you don’t want people knowing you aren’t as panicked as they are. People do crazy things.

  1. Backup Radios

Electrical radios won’t work, but crank radios are great for connecting to the world and receiving news. You can even buy some crank radios that allows you to plug in your phone chargers. Any information you can receive about the events happening is better than nothing and gives you an idea of what to expect.

  1. Family Activities and Boredom Busters

You have at least two weeks ahead of you. I don’t know about your kids, but mine are sure to start fighting quickly. You could send them outside, but you have to be careful. As time goes on, people will become more desperate. If they see happy kids playing, they may want to find out why they are so relaxed and happy.

Keep a stockpile of books for your kids. I love yard sales; you can find books for $.25. Another great thing to have on hand is board games. We have a closet full of board games, perfect for kids and adults. Any way to forget about the stress outside is helpful for a blackout.

  1. Fire Extinguisher

It is unlike the fire department is going to respond, since there is no way to call 911. You are going to be using propane heats, kerosene heaters, candles, grills and more. Even if you are very careful, it is a great idea to keep a few fire extinguishers throughout your home.

Final Words

Preparing for a short-term blackout takes some creativity. If the blackout period lasts longer than six months (could be due to an EMP or a grid hack attack), you will need to think about the future. You would want to keep heirloom seeds on hand and start preparing to grow your food for the future. Before you can prepare for a long-term blackout, you have to be ready for two weeks without power. Are you?

The post 16 Things to Stockpile for the Next Blackout appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

DIY Slingbow – Improvised Arms and Ammunition Part 14

Well, I wish I could take credit for this thing, but the fact is that some guy on youtube that used to be on a survivor type television show came up with it. I think it is brilliant and it is my new most favorite toy to play with.

What I am talking about is the sling bow. This weapon is loosely a combination of a slingshot and a bow. It is a slingshot for sure, but really the onlyslings part of it that is like a bow is the fact that it fires arrows.

The guy that invented it sells them of course, but why pay too much for something that you can make yourself for pennies on the dollar. I understand that the guy is just trying to make a living, we all are, but some information is meant for the masses.

It can be compared to the inventors of the bow and arrow, the slingshot, and the crossbow. The names of whoever thought these things up are lost to the ages, and many people now make money by selling various forms of these inventions. So it is my contention that I am not selling the item, I am telling you how to make one in various forms for yourself for cheap or even free.

I have made four versions of the sling bow, the first variant being as close to the guys original invention as I could get because I figured that must be the best way to do it.

Wrist rocket sling bow

To make one of these first I bought a wrist rocket type slingshot at waldo’s world of Chinese made goods for $7. Next I ordered a whisker biscuit online for $10.

These whicker biscuits cost as much as $40 in the sporting goods store so I looked online and sure enough they were on Amazon for 10 bux. I also bought a Barnett brand replacement rubber tubing for a slingshot to use to make the wooden version that I describe next.

barnett slingshot

I simply attached the whisker biscuit to the slingshot with a metal strip and a few screws.

barnett slingshot modification

It was pretty straightforward to attach the whisker biscuit to the slingshot. I just made a metal strip and drilled a few holes in it. Then I screwed the metal strip onto the grip using two of the grip screws. A couple of small nuts and bolts and a metal brace on the front completed the design.

photo 3

photo step 4

To finish it up I tied a piece of paracord at the pouch to nock the arrow onto and left a longer piece that I then tied in to a large knot. The knot is for grasping and drawing the sling bow.

This worked fairly well, but I wanted to find an easier and cheaper way to do it because you won’t necessarily be able to obtain a wrist rocket and whisker biscuit in cases of SHTF/TEOTWAWKI. That led me to making the wooden sling bow.

Wooden sling bow

To make the wooden sling bow I cut the shape from a piece of 1/2″ plywood. I used plywood because it is stronger than just a single piece of wood due to the laminate design.

I traced a patter out on the piece of wood first, and then I cut it out with a scroll saw. You can cut it out with any kind of saw, a hand saw, jig saw, whatever you have. You can even cut it out with your knife it that’s all you have to work with. It will just take a lot longer. You can see the dimensions for the handle in the picture below.

step 5: sling bow dimensions on piece of wood

After I cut out the pattern and drilled the holes in it, I sanded it to smooth the edges and then I wrapped the handle in paracord.

step 6 cut wooden pattern

step 7 wrapped in paracord

Once the handle was wrapped I then attached the rubber tubes. The first one I made I used the store bought bands on but for this one I re-purposed the bands from an exercise band. It was thicker than the store bought band so I figured it would be stronger (it was).

To attach the tubes you push them through a snug fitting hole, and then you insert a pointed plug into the end of the tubing. When the tubing is pulled back it cinches the tubing against the plugs into the hole and holds it all together. The more you pull, the tighter it gets.

8 inserting the tubes

step 9 inserting the tubes 2

All it needed to finish it up was the paracord string at the end of the tubing. I inserted the conical pieces into the ends of the tubing and then tied the paracord as tight as I could get it right at the plugs. This way the cord pulls against the plugs and cinches it tight like it does on the other ends, so the knots won’t slip off the tubing.

step 10

This sling bow is very strong, it is hard to pull back on it and hold it straight though so I am thinking it needs a wrist brace. So then I figured I will just make one that has a wrist brace by making it from a length of steel wire rod.

Wire rod wrist rocket sling bow

After making a few of these sling bows I determined that the best method to make one would be to make it from steel rod and have a wrist brace. To make this one I used a four foot long piece of 1/4” steel rod. I started in the center and bent it to fit over my wrist. By heating it in the spot I intended to bend it I minimized stress on the rod and maintained the structural; integrity of the steel.

11 steel rod sling bow

12 steel rod

Once I had the curve suitable for my arm I bent it in another direction to make the rod reach my hand, it was at that point that I bent both sides about 90 degrees to make the grip section.

step 13

I clamped the rod in a vice and heated it; I then slid a metal tube over the rod and used that to make the bends. This keeps the rod straight everywhere else and also applies more leverage.

step 14

Once I got to the small, tight bends that created the ram’s horns I had to use a hammer to beat the rod into shape as it was too short and stiff to bend by hand. I used channel locks and vice grips and clamped the rod in the bench vice. It was a little bit of a struggle at the end, but I got it done. It was worth the effort too.

I tried to keep both sides uniform but they may be off a little. It doesn’t matter if it is perfect, as long as the ends are parallel with each other and with the arrow rest. You could use heavier rod if you want to or if that’s all you have, you could use lighter rod too, like maybe 3/16″, but I don’t know if I’d go much smaller than that as the rod has to be stiff and maintain its shape.

Once I was satisfied with the shape I put the rubber tubing on it. These just slide on and as long as they fit snugly you do not need to do anything else to hold them on. They stay on when you pull back because when you pull back the tubes stretch, and when they stretch they become smaller in diameter.

This acts as a clamp in itself and the harder you pull back on the tubes, the tighter they grip the steel rod. I did sort of rough the ends of the rod up with the pliers so that probably helps hold the tubing on as well from the added friction.

step 15

step 16

On this sling bow I tried something different with the tubing. Rather than having two short tubes, I left it as one and put the free ends onto the rod. Then I tied the paracord in the center for the arrow nock and then instead of tying a knot to draw it back with I just used the loop of the tubing to draw it back with. This was actually easier to grip than the paracord knot.

As I mentioned in the video below, although this sling bow might not be the best looking or easiest to carry, I think that it shoots a lot better than the others. If you notice in the pictures, one thing they all have in common is that the arrow rest and the tubing attachment points need to be parallel. This makes the arrow fly straight along your line of sight and makes the sling bow more accurate.

Last shot

This weapon is fast becoming one of my new favorites, it is easy to make one, and cheap to make one. They are easy to use, accurate (when made right) and powerful. These were sinking the arrows into the foam block as deep as a 40-50 pound draw weight bow sinks them.

They also seem like they would be much easier to wield in a situation where you have a lot of tree branches around you. I’m sure many of you traditional bow hunters have had that shot fouled because the bow limb hit a branch that you didn’t notice because you were focused on the target. Of course that doesn’t happen with compound bows because the limbs don’t flex and rebound, but it can happen with a recurve or long bow.

Unlike a bow, the sling bow fits easily in your back pack, or even your back pocket. The guy that invented it sells a take-down arrow that screws together; it made me think of a cleaning rod that you commonly find in a gun cleaning kit. I’m sure it wouldn’t take much to make up a few of your own take down arrows to go with your sling bow.

These can easily stow in your back pack and take them along with you and whenever you throw the pack over your shoulder you know you have a decent weapon in it that can get you some food should the need arise, and really that’s what good survival gear does. It sits there quietly, taking up little space until you need it.

slings

This is the guy that invented the sling bow:

But they are all over the internet now; here is another method of making one:

Disclaimer

Please check state laws before attempting to use a sling bow for hunting. In some states, this is forbidden. Also, please note that the advice given in this article is for information purposes only. Neither the author nor www.SurvivalSullivan.com can be held liable for the misuse of the advice given in this article.

The post DIY Slingbow – Improvised Arms and Ammunition Part 14 appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Handguns For The Elderly

When we think of homeowners and firearms, we often think about a man defending his wife and kids. However, according to the Census Bureau, by 2050, 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or older. A defense firearm for the elderly should be similar to those of any other home defense handgun. It should be something that is reliable, easy to repair, as well as easy to obtain parts and ammunition for use. The most common ammunition in production is .22 LR and 9x19mm followed by .45ACP, .40 S&W, and .38 Special.

This guide is not an end all, be all for elderly firearms but in my experience the simpler the firearm the more comfortable a person will be. The goal is to provide a few options that could be purchased at most gun stores throughout the United States.

glock 19 wikipedia

Glock 19

Glock is an Austrian based company that has changed the face of firearms. Glock has created a series of polymer framed semi automatic pistols built through years of exhaustive reliability and safety tests to emerge as the brand used by police and militaries around the world. With all of the mechanics of the firearm built into the slide and frame, Glock is one the simplest firearm to maintain and use. It weighs around 1.5 pounds unloaded, which could be a drawback for those who may not be as strong.

The Glock 19 chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum, the most commonly used pistol round in the world thanks to NATO. Since all of the parts of the Glock are internal, the ability for someone to have a failure while shooting is limited. While the Glock is not indestructible, it is as close to as you can get. The Glock 19 holds 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition in a double-stacked polymer magazine. It can however take the 17 round magazines of the Glock 17 and the 33 round magazines of the Glock 18. Its ability to be used by all kinds of people, due to its unsurpassed reliability, above-average magazine capacity making it a great firearm for the elderly.

The Glock 19 is also very reasonably priced. Compared to some of the top tier guns you may look at, a Glock 19 usually runs between $500 and $600 before taxes and paperwork fees. For a firearm that has not been changed much since its inception, Glock is one of the best values for your dollar and your piece of mind.

Beretta Bobcat 21A

Beretta Bobcat 21 A (.25 ACP)

When you think about compact, light, and high quality you should think about the Beretta Bobcat. The Bobcat is comparable in size to a smart phone and weighs a little more than half a pound. The Bobcat is user-friendly, dependable, and accurate. The Bobcat has the same quality, value, and attention to detail just like all Beretta’s firearms.

The Bobcat has one feature that makes it standout over most small firearms. The exclusive tip-up barrel allows the user to easily load a round directly into the chamber without racking the slide. This feature also allows the safe clearing of the pistol by giving an easy and absolutely safe way to check the bore and remove a live cartridge along with virtually eliminating jamming and stove-piping problems.

The Beretta Bobcat has a lower price point than some of the other firearms listed here. However, it is a steal for such a small and high quality pistol. A Beretta Bobcat runs between usually runs between $200 and $400 before taxes and paperwork fees.

Kel-Tec P-3AT

Kel-Tec P-3AT

If the Glock is too big or heavy for you, you might consider the Kel-Tec P-3AT. Kel-Tec has many versions of their P Series handguns. The P Series comes chambered from .32ACP up to 9x19mm Parabellum. The vast array of calibers makes it easy for a novice shooter to carry anywhere from 5 rounds (.380 ACP) up to 12 rounds (9x19mm).

The Kel-Tec handguns are designed t be light and easy to conceal.  The P-3AT is the lightest .380 pistol ever made. Weighing in at less than a quarter of a pound it is a great lightweight option. It is a semi-automatic, locked breach pistol, and features a double action only firing mechanism.

The Kel-Tec P-3AT is a great value. Compared to some of the other handguns you may look at, a Kel-Tec P3AT retails for less than $400 before taxes and paperwork fees.

Ruger LCR 38 sp front quarter

photo via Wikimedia Commons under the CC 3.0 license

Ruger LCR (revolver)

If semi-automatic firearms are not your thing or you are simply a lover of revolvers (and there are many who fall into that category) you might consider the Ruger LCR or “Lightweight Compact Revolver”. Ruger has been around since 1949 and make some of the best revolvers in the marketplace today. The Ruger LCR has many versions and comes chambered from .22 LR up to .357 Magnum. The vast array of calibers makes it easy to carry anywhere from 5 rounds (.38 Special and .357 Magnum) up to 8 rounds (.22LR).

A revolver offers an elderly shooter a smaller and more compact firearm with a single action to perform: pulling the trigger. In times of great stress or fear, the action of only pulling the trigger could be the difference between life and death.

Many people are hesitant to purchase a revolver due to the external hammer, but this problem is easily solved since the LCR does not have external hammers. Weighing in at a little over a pound, the small revolver is light as implied by its name.

Due to the variation between models of the Ruger LCR, one can run anywhere from $600 and $900 before taxes and paperwork fees

Conclusion

While this is not an end all be all list of firearms for the elderly this is a good base for picking, testing, and finding a firearm for you or your elderly family member. Often they appear, as “soft” targets, for those would like to rob or otherwise harm someone.

We have to think about how they can defend themselves and not become victims. If you or someone you care about is elderly make sure you take the time to help them become trained to protect themselves. They will soon be one fifth of the population; we owe it to them to make their twilight years safe ones. Good luck and good shooting!

The post Handguns For The Elderly appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Preppers on the Run-Chapter 6: Not What It Seems

Oh my gosh she’s been bit.” Tears streamed down Sandra’s face. Robby rushed forward with the first aid kit. Susie was still crying, huge crocodile tears.

“Mom, here.” He frantically shoved the first aid kit into her hands. “Do something.” Robby’s voice was frantic. He spun around. “Alex, go find your dad!” Alex wiped tears from his own eyes and ran out the door to find his father.

“Robby I…it was a copperhead. I killed it but she needs the antivenom. There’s nothing…” Sandra put a hand over her mouth as if not finishing the sentence would change the outcome for her daughter.

“Mom! It’s Susie. You have to try!” Robby hugged Sandra tight and moved to his sister’s side to hold her hand. “You have to try, mom.” He clearly wasn’t accepting the fact that there was nothing to help her. Robby’s pleading spurred Sandra into action. He was right, she could try.

“Okay Robby, get me some of the boiling water from the stove. Be careful.” Robby nodded and ran to the stove where the water for the rabbit stew was heating. Susie’s crying was starting to subside and she struggled to sit up.

“Mommy, why are you crying?” Sandra gently put a hand against Susie’s shoulder to push her back down.

“It’s okay Susie. Mommy has to fix your bite. Just lie still a little while longer.” Sandra smoothed Susie’s hair and tried to smile reassuringly. “We can try a tourniquet, Robby. And maybe I can cut an X and suck the poison out. I heard that can help.” Sandra stepped toward Susie’s leg again. She took her knife and cut a strip from the quilt that was still partially wrapped around Susie. She tied it tightly around Susie’s upper thigh, higher than the bite on her calf. She silently prayed it would help slow the poison from moving through her bloodstream and give them more time. Robby brought the water and Sandra dipped the knife into the boiling water and held it there to sterilize it. She glanced again at the wound, it was small, but starting to swell and turning red. She felt panic rising at the thought of her child dying from a snake bite

“Robby bring me one of the cups from that cupboard on the wall. I need something to spit this poison into.” Robby brought the cup. Sandra put one hand on the side of the bite and hovered her knife over the wound and tried to steel herself so she could cut her little girl to save her life. Just then Jacob burst through the door with Alex. Jacob was holding two rabbits in one hand and his gun in the other.

“Stop! Sandra, wait!” Sandra turned abruptly and looked at him.

“It’s a copperhead bite…I was going to cut it and then suck the poison out. I don’t know what else to do.” Jacob handed the rabbits and gun to Alex.

“Alex told me about the snake. But that’s a myth. You can’t suck the poison out, even if you can find it. Cutting it risks infection. Let me see it.” Jacob moved to Susie’s side. Sandra stepped back as Jacob bent to inspect the wound. He looked a moment and then immediately pulled the tourniquet loose with one hand.

“What are you doing? That slows the poison!” Sandra tried to push Jacob out of the way so she could redo the tourniquet.

“Sandra! Wait.” Jacob grabbed her hands and held them. “A tourniquet for a snake bite is not helpful. It’s better to keep the bite lower than the heart without a tourniquet. But Sandra, it’s not a snakebite. Look at it again. There’s only one puncture mark. She’s just been stung Sandra, not bitten.” Sandra looked at him in disbelief.

“What? But I killed the snake myself, it was a copperhead. It was right in front of her” She moved to Susie’s side and inspected the wound. Looking closely and without the intense panic she’d felt until just moments ago, she could see Jacob was right. There was only one puncture wound and she could see a tiny black spec, right in the center. “Oh my God. I almost cut her.” Sandra felt like she was going to pass out, she swayed. Jacob put an arm around her waist to steady her.

“It’s okay. She’s okay.” As Jacob spoke he pulled his wallet from his pocket and took out a credit card. “Sit Sandra. I got this.” Sandra nodded and sank onto the couch. “Alex go to creek and bring some mud.” Alex nodded and headed back out the door. “Is she allergic?” Sandra shook her head.

“No, thank God.” Sandra answered. Jacob nodded.

“Then we’re good.” Jacob said. With a careful swipe of the credit card across Sandra’s calf, Jacob pulled the stinger from the angry red wound. “I got it out, I think. No baking soda, so we’ll mud it and let it dry, then scrape it off in case I missed a piece. She’ll be okay in a bit. A little sore and itchy tomorrow maybe. Do you have Benadryl in your kit?”

“Yes.” Sandra unzipped the first aid kit and took out the small bottle of children’s liquid Benadryl. “I feel so foolish. I almost cut her leg.” Sandra stood and kissed Susie on the forehead. “You can sit up now honey. Here drink this.” She handed Susie the small plastic dosing cup and watched as she drank it down.

“Yum, bubble gum!” Susie exclaimed licking her lips. Sandra and Jacob both laughed. Alex came through the door with a dripping handful of mud. Jacob spread the thick wet mud over the wound.

“There ya go kiddo. You’ll be right as rain in no time.” Jacob ruffled Susie’s hair with his clean hand.

“Thank you.” Susie smiled at Jacob. “Mom, can I get off the table, now?”

“Yes, yes.” Sandra laughed again so relieved that her little girl was going to be okay.

“I’ll help you Susie.” Robby stepped up and lifted his little sister down from the table. He hugged her tight as he set her down. “I’m so glad you’re okay, Susie.”

“Boys, let’s go get these rabbits cleaned for the stew.” Jacob retrieved the rabbits from where he’d dropped them when he came in and handed them to Alex.

“While you’re doing that, Susie and I will boil the cattail roots and herbs for the stew. We’ll have a good dinner tonight.” Jacob nodded and smiled.

“Yes Ma’am, sounds tasty.” Jacob winked at her. The boys and Jacob headed out the door and Sandra cleaned up the mess she had shoved off the table. As she picked up her bag to put the collapsible shovel back in her pack, she realized she still had the dead snake too.

“Susie, stay here. I forgot to tell Jacob something. I’ll be right back.” Sandra went outside and found Jacob and the boys near the back of the cabin. “Jacob? Can we eat this too?” She held up the dead snake from her bag.

“We could if we really needed to I guess. Not the head of course. But it’s small, not much meat on it. Snakes are flaky, with a texture kind of like fish but not the strong taste. Unless you really want to eat it, I think we’ll be good with the stew.” Sandra nodded.

“Okay, works for me. This thing gives me the creeps anyhow. Such a close call.” Sandra handed the snake and its head over to Jacob. “Can you dispose of it for me?” Jacob nodded.

“Sure thing.” Sandra smiled at him and turned to go back into the house and then turned back. “Jacob?” he turned to look at her again. “Thank you for your help with Susie. Your calm head made all the difference.” Jacob nodded.

“My pleasure. No problem. I’m just glad everything turned out okay.” Sandra nodded and headed back into the cabin. Sandra sat at the table with Susie. First, she scraped the mud from Susie’s leg and then cleaned it with an antibacterial wipe. It already looked better, still slightly swollen but not as red. While Susie played with the checkers,

Sandra washed the cattail pieces she’d cut, then soaked them in cold water to remove the excess starch. Sandra was adding the pieces to the boiling water as Jacob and the boys came in with the rabbits freshly cleaned. Sandra had found a cast iron pan in the cupboard which she used to brown the pieces of rabbit along with some more of the herbs she’d found in the garden. She then poured the cattail stock over the pieces and left it to cook down.

“Won’t be long now.” she called over her shoulder to the boys who were once again setting up a game of checkers.  Robby looked up, grinned, and rubbed his stomach to signal he was hungry. “About 40 minutes till dinner boys. I’m going to take a look around outside. Keep an eye on your sister, Robby?” Robby nodded.

“Sure mom. Come on Susie, sit here by me.” Robby slid over on his chair and made room for Susie to sit beside him.

“Thanks Robby”. Sandra grabbed her now empty bag from the floor near the table and headed outside to see what she could find before darkness fell. She nodded to Jacob who was just outside the door on the porch cleaning his gun. “Going to see what I can find that we can use.” Jacob nodded and kept working. Sandra headed back toward the back of the cabin to see what she could find that was usable.

Before long, she located an old window screen the size of the front cabin window, half-buried in the weeds. She picked it up and brushed the dirt off. It would make the perfect tray to dehydrate some more of the herbs from the abandoned garden she and Susie had found earlier. Tomorrow she’d lay herbs out on the screen and let the sun dry them. Sandra gathered some wild edibles, including wood sorrel, firewood, plantain, chickweed, and chicory. She went back to the garden to gather more herbs and then headed back inside to finish dinner.

After dinner, Robby and Alex went out and rinsed the cups and bowls in the creek water, then rinsed them with a bit of bottled water and put them back in the makeshift cupboard where they’d found them. They went out back out together to take the horse to the creek for a drink and let him graze a bit on some longer grass not far from the cabin.

Jacob brought the saddle bags in and he and Sandra sat on the couch, and went through all the supplies in the backpacks as well and sorted them so every pack had some water, food, and other critical supplies in case any of them were separated. Susie was playing at the table stacking the checkers into towers. The boys came back in just as Jacob and Sandra finished repacking the supplies.

“We tied unsaddled the horse and tied him again to the tree with some of the paracord mom so he can move around a little more than before.” Sandra nodded and smiled.

“Good thinking, Robby. Maybe tomorrow the two of you can walk him out to the field to graze a bit too. We need to make sure he eats enough before we get on the road again.”

“Sure mom. We can do that.” Robby glanced at Alex. “One more game of checkers, Alex?” he grinned when Alex nodded. The two boys went over to the table and bribed Susie to give up the checkers in exchange for a couple cool rocks they’d found by the creek. Before long, Susie came over and crawled up on her mom’s lap with a yawn. Sandra glanced at Jacob and he winked.

“Looks like someone’s ready for bed.” Sandra said.

“Me too, mom” Susie mumbled. Sandra carried Susie to the bed and lay down with her.

“Okay you boys, to sleep with you after you finish that game. Morning comes early. You boys will need to help Sandra with breakfast chores so I can catch a few hours’ sleep” Jacob reminded the boys as he headed outside to the porch to take watch for the night.

Sandra woke with a start near dawn. She’d been dreaming of the snake attacking Susie, only in her dream the snake had bit Susie repeatedly. She rubbed her eyes. There’d be no more sleep after that nightmare. She got up to use the toilet in the corner, and then went to relieve Jacob so he could try to get some sleep. If they were leaving the cabin soon, she’d have to decide whether or not to tell Jacob she had a bug out location.

The post Preppers on the Run-Chapter 6: Not What It Seems appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Top 10 Biggest Prepper Debates

What Side Are You On?

No matter how long you’ve been prepping you’ve no doubt run across some prepping concepts and advice that you disagree with. Preppers are a very diverse bunch of people. Whether they call themselves bushcrafters, survivalists, preppers, off-gridders, or homesteaders, all have different goals, motivations, skill levels, and beliefs.

With the recent political upheaval and changes in economy and weather in the United States and around the world, more and more people are discovering that being prepared is not such a bad idea. While preppers and non-preppers have long argued over the necessity of prepping, there are also many different debates that go on even among preppers.

In this article, we’re going to highlight some of the long-standing debates among preppers. As you read through our list, think about what side of the prepper fence you come down on each of these issues and let us know your reasoning in the comments.

Barter Food & Water or Save for Yourself?

It’s no secret that, when SHTF, the economy is going to suffer in some way. In fact, most preppers are in agreement about the fact that U.S. currency or cash will quickly become almost useless after a major SHTF event. The primary theory is that in order to survive and to get your hands-on items you may need to survive, you will need to be in the position to barter with other people who have what you need.

But that’s where the agreement ends for a lot of preppers. Many disagree over exactly what the best items will be when bartering replaces currency. Food and water are something that every single person is going to need in order to survive, right? And after a SHTF event, many people will be desperate to get food and water so their family can survive. It makes sense then, that food and water could be a good thing to have on hand so you can barter with other people to get what you need. Because of this logic, many people stockpile extra food and water with the intent of using it to barter for other needed items.

But there are those that disagree and will vehemently insist that you should never use food and water to barter with and that you should save all that food and water for yourself and your family. In fact, these opponents of food and water for bartering purposes believe that if you use food and water to barter, you are actually putting yourself and your family at risk for starvation. These folks believe that you should keep food and water for yourself and instead stockpile other items for bartering such as gold and silver, ammunition, or luxury items such as alcohol, cigarettes, and candy.

So where do you stand when it comes to bartering? Will you barter using food and water or will you stockpile something else that you can trade for items you need?

Bug in or Bug Out?

Next on our list of long-standing debates is the age-old debate, is it better to bug out or bug in? Preppers from all walks of life come down on opposite sides of the fence on this issue. The debate over whether to bug in or bug out involves many different factors including location, climate, security, population density, and a host of other issues.

Some bushcrafters and survivalists are counting on bugging out to the woods to survive on their skills and whatever nature provides. Other preppers who are tied to the city for income purposes are intent on bugging out to a more remote bug out retreat they have prepared ahead of time. Most experts will tell you that, for most people, bugging out is more dangerous than bugging in and that it puts your family at risk from other people but there are still those who will insist that bugging out is the best option for them.

Those who come down on the bugging in is best side of the fence will point to their immense stockpile of food, water, and other supplies as testament to the fact that they are better off to stay put. Others who intend to bug in have gone to great lengths to secure their property from intruders including everything from guns and ammunition to booby traps.

There are groups of preppers who believe that bugging in is the answer in most situations but they are preparing to bug out if the situation calls for it. I’m not sure this one will ever be put to rest because there are simply so many varying factors involved, but what say you? When SHTF, what will YOU do?

Talk About prepping or Stay Quiet?

Many preppers will agree that just like in fight club, “you don’t talk about prepping”. They keep their prepping activities discreet and they don’t talk to strangers, neighbors, friends, or even family about what they’re stockpiling. Some preppers even prepare a logical explanation if a cashier or neighbor asks why they are buying so many supplies. Their motto is that each person has the same access to information and the ability to prepare as the next and those who don’t prepare are on their own. The preppers in the “keep your mouth shut about prepping” camp believe that talking to others about prepping simply opens you and your family up to becoming a target when SHTF.

But there are some preppers out there who believe that the more people who are prepared for some kind of SHTF situation when it happens, the better it will be for everyone. It’s no secret that one of the most dangerous threats following a SHTF situation will be people in your area who aren’t prepared trying to take your stuff. Some preppers believe that by talking to friends and neighbors about prepping they are helping to reduce the number of people who will be so desperate and helpless following a SHTF event. So, by talking to others about prepping and even convincing them to prep too, it reduces the number of people in the area coming after your supplies following a SHTF event and could potentially create allies to help boost your odds of survival.

Help Zombies or Shoot Them?

Following a SHTF event, most preppers will agree that there will be huge numbers of people who have not prepared. These people are those who are so dependent on technology and having services readily available to them that they won’t know what to do when the power goes out indefinitely. Believe it or not, there are two camps of preppers for this topic as well.

There are those preppers who believe that prepping is a personal responsibility and anyone who doesn’t take on that responsibility and prepare for themselves and their family, deserve what they get. Many of these preppers also feel that when these unprepared people or “zombies” come knocking on their door looking for food or some other handout, the best course of action is to turn them away or even shoot them if they refuse to leave. Preppers in this camp see the

On the other side of this debate are the people who realize that shooting unarmed and desperate people might not be the best way. Preppers in the “help those in need” camp believe that every person has value and should have an opportunity to prove themselves useful. The preppers in this camp typically stockpile extra supplies to pass out to the zombies before asking them to move on.

Also on this side of the debate there are also some preppers who believe that there is strength in numbers. This subset in the “help zombies” camp are making plans to invite or accept zombies into their own survival group by giving them responsibilities and chores in exchange for food and a place to sleep. This subset of preppers believes that by making their own group larger they will be better able to defend against the roving gangs and thieves.

Survive Alone or in A Group?

When it comes to debates among preppers one of the longstanding debates is whether your chances of survival are better alone or in a survival group or community. On one side are the bushcrafters and the hardcore survivalists who believe that they are better off alone after a SHTF event. These preppers believe that depending on their skills, rather than on other people, is the best course of action. Many of the preppers in this camp are former military men or are lone wolf types who are already living a pretty isolated lifestyle. These guys may do okay on their own, just them against nature, or at least they think they will. But only if their skills are truly up to par and they don’t get any serious injuries that render them physically incapable of making a fire and doing the many other chores that are needed to survive in the wild.

On the other side of this debate are the preppers who believe that it’s beneficial to have a group of people to share the immense workload involved with long-term survival after a SHTF event. These are the prepper families, those who have loved ones and can’t imagine leaving them behind. This group of preppers believe that pulling together a group of people who have a diverse range of skills and knowledge puts them at an advantage after a SHTF event. This group understands the concept of “no man is an island” and they have a group of people that they trust that can plan and train together for a whatever the future may hold.

What Disasters Are We Prepping For?

One of the things preppers have in common of course is that they are all preparing for some emergency or other event in the future where life won’t run as smoothly as it does now. But the agreement on a need to prepare is where the harmony ends and the debates begin.

Some preppers are simply preparing for the next emergency, whether it be a natural disaster, a storm, a home invasion, or terrorist event. They are getting ready for a short-term period where they will need to protect themselves from those who intend harm, survive without power, without running water, or without the usual amenities modern life holds. This group of preppers may or may not have an interest in preparing to bug out or leave their home on a short-term basis. They often don’t believe that there is some catastrophic event that is coming for the country or the world that will change life as we know it. They are preparing for a short-term local emergency and they believe after such an event, life will return to normal.

On the far side of this debate are the doomsday preppers. This group is preparing for the TEOTWAWKI (The End of The World As We Know It). They believe that there is some cataclysmic event looming in our future which will alter the course of history and change the world forever. This group of preppers is not only stockpiling food and supplies but they are working toward a way of life that is completely independent of the economy that they fear will collapse when this event occurs.

Knowledge and Skills versus Gear?

Another longstanding debate among preppers is the one over knowledge and skills versus gear. Some preppers, especially those new to the whole concept, get caught up in having the newest, greatest, best gadget to accomplish any post-SHTF task. These gear gurus believe that they will be fine after a disaster because they have an EDC kit, a get home bag (GHB), and a bug out bag (BOB) filled with all the best gear. They may have large stockpiles of water, food, and other supplies in their bug out location or home. If they need to handle it following a major disaster event, they are confident they have something in their stockpile of gear that will get the job done.

But on the other side of this debate are those who believe that the more knowledge and skills you have under your belt, the less gear you will need to carry with you. These preppers recognize that depending on gear to get you through a crisis is a dangerous thing in the chaos that will follow. They travel light with just the basic gear and intend to survive on what can be found in the environment. These preppers focus on mastering the foundational survival skills and then learning as much as they can in other areas they feel are important.

Join a Prepper Network: Yay or Nay?

There is strength in numbers, right? Or is there? The decision to join and participate in a prepper network is one that has been long debated among preppers. On one hand, joining a prepper network gives you access to the varied skills and knowledge of a wide group of people. As part of a prepper network, you have the opportunity to meet preppers at all levels of experience and you can learn from the mistakes of those who have been prepping longer than you have. Being part of a prepper network can give you the opportunity to get together with people in your area and practice the skills you are learning and gain confidence in your ability to survive when the time comes.

But on the other side of the debate are fears and distrust surrounding the decision to join a prepper network. There are different levels of prepper networks from those that are community based to those that are loosely organized online. Some preppers believe that sharing information about your preps, your location, and your plans when SHTF can make you a target. In reality, it is a big risk to put yourself out there, to let complete strangers into your planning process and alert them to where they could go to get supplies if they themselves get desperate. For this reason, even if you do join a prepper network, make sure you limit the amount of detailed information you share about your plans and preps. Follow basic opsec and don’t tell people how to get to your bug out or bug in location, how many guns you own, or where your food stockpile is hidden.

Guns Over Bows for Hunting and Defense?

When SHTF, most preppers agree that security and defense will be a priority issue for just about everyone. Even those in remote locations will occasionally have to deal with intruders who might wish to do harm. The majority of preppers plan to deal with defense by stockpiling guns and ammunition. This is definitely something worthy of consideration because there’s no denying that having access to firearms gives you an advantage. But since ammunition is finite and you can only stockpile so much prior to a SHTF situation, some think there’s another option for defense and hunting.

Bows, whether recurve or compound, are an option for many. Those who are experienced know the limitations of this method but they also recognize the advantages. Firearms are loud and will alert people to your location or at least let them know that you have the ability to hunt food, which they could possibly steal. Bows are quiet and there’s something to be said for stealth after a SHTF situation. One of the most dangerous threats will be other people, so some preppers figure silent is better. There are preppers who believe the other advantage of bow hunting is that they require less maintenance and in a long-term situation, ammunition can be made by hand.

MREs: Are They Worth It?

Another of the major debates many preppers have is over food for a long-term survival situation post SHTF or TEOTWAWKI event. MREs are “Meals Ready to Eat” designed by and for military field troops. MRE’s come pre-packaged so that they don’t need refrigeration and can be eaten with very little and sometimes no preparation at all. They can typically be bought online or through companies that have commercialized the “ready to eat” meal packaging. Each one contains about 1200 calories and MRE shelf life is about three years. Many preppers purchase and stockpile them because they are easy to store, caloric intake is already considered in each package, and they require little preparation.

One of the downsides to MREs is of course the taste. Military troops have giventhem many different nicknames including “Meals Rarely Edible” and “Meals Rejected by Everyone”. A number of the MREs are considered inedible, and would be especially unappealing to children. Companies have begun mkaing them very similar to the military style and have improved upon the taste somewhat. These are prepared by adding boiling water. But the downside of these are the expense. Many preppers believe that while having a few MREs might be beneficial in a pinch, it’s much cheaper and far more nutritious and better for morale to be in a position to stockpile, grow and cook your own food.

What’s the Best Way to Filter and Purify Water?

Water after a SHTF event will truly be the lifeblood for any prepper and their family or group. Public utilities may be shut down or operate sporadically. Wells and other water sources could be contaminated depending on the type of disaster. A normal healthy adult can only survive without water for about three days. So, it’s not surprising that preppers argue over the best way to filter water for drinking. They know how critical fresh drinking water will be following a SHTF event.

Some preppers swear by their LifeStraw filter while others insist the Sawyer Mini Water Filter is the way to go. For others, the best way to purify water in a survival situation is through boiling or distillation. It’s a debate that’s been going on for a number of years and I doubt it will ever be settled.

So, where do you stand on these top ten biggest prepare debates? Are you stockpiling MREs? Will you use food and water to barter when the time comes? Will you bug in or bug out? When the zombies show up at your door, will you help them or shoot them? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The post Top 10 Biggest Prepper Debates appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Societal Collapse: How to Prepare For and Survive It

When society collapses, it will happen quickly. The time to prepare your family AND organize your neighbors is now!

No matter how prepared you are for the SHTF inciting incident, both you and your loved ones will still suddenly find yourselves thrust into the middle of a disaster with copious amounts of people who are wholly unprepared for any doomsday scenario.

Approximately 3.7 million Americans identify themselves as being “preppers” at least in some capacity. While that statistic may sound like a huge number of people, it actually only amounts to about 1 percent of the population of the United States. Willful ignorance will likely end up killing approximately 80 percent of our fellow citizens.

After a societal collapse there will be zero time to network with neighbors to instill in them the benefits of preparedness or to craft a town or neighborhood response and defense plan to stave off the marauding hordes.

What to Expect When Society Collapses

Within hours, days at the most, all modern conveniences will begin to evaporate. As this happens, panic will set in across the disaster effected region. Hurricane Katrina clearly illustrated just how rapidly an entire city of people can transformed into victims, looters – even killers. Calling 911 and being assured help was on the way did not happen after the storm, nor will it happen during a societal collapse.

Bank doors will be closed and locked tight before a run on the financial institution can occur. Paper money will likely become useless quickly anyway. Gold, silver, other precious metals and gems will become the common currency.

The collapse does not need to be an economic one to cause hyper-inflation. Any student of history can recall images of German citizens pushing a wheelbarrow full of cash to stand in line to purchase a loaf of bread. That same scenario will play out across the United States when any type of long-term disaster hits.

Grocery store shelves will empty within hours after a doomsday disaster. Finding formula to feed a baby, grandma’s heart medication, or even a can of Spam will almost instantly become impossible.

First responders will try to serve the community for as long as they can, but will be hampered by hunger, thirst, a lack of fuel, and pure physical exhaustion. Martial law will quite possibly be declared, causing already enflamed tensions to rise.

Looting will begin both swiftly and severely. Walking down a street which was safe and calm just a day before will become a deadly proposition.

Stopping all of these likely aftermath scenarios will be impossible. But, sitting down and gently forcing others in your community to listen to your concerns about community or neighborhood preparedness if you live in a metropolitan area, can greatly mitigate the severity impact of a societal collapse.

Societal Collapse Community Preparedness Plan

There is no one-size-fits-all community preparedness plan. But, the basic foundation-building steps are universal and essential to prevent total civil unrest from taking hold. It may take weeks, even months, of talking to community members and utilizing social media to establish a core group of individuals who are willing to join together to draft a functional community preparedness plan, but the time will be well spent – the life you are saving may be your own!

Identify local resources – This may be the most time-consuming and important aspect of creating a preparedness plan to thwart societal collapse from overwhelming your town. Think of it as an inventory of all types of resources: human, natural, and physical.

  • Defense – How many police officers, retired officers, hunters, and veteran members of the military live in your community? In addition to the creation of a list of municipal gear, personnel, and weapons, a list of volunteers and their related information should be established as well. A list of each volunteer’s contact information, weapons they own, and skills/training should be included in the community preparedness plan. Each person on the list should have a designated post to stand when called upon to respond to a threat to the community or neighborhood. Regular around-the-clock shifts at an established security perimeter should be established, with at least two designated group meeting areas for the team of professionals and volunteers. A badge or patch of some type, and even matching and labeled shirts, should be given to the combined force of community protectors so both citizens and unwanted visitors can immediately identify them while they are on patrol.
  • Fire Protection – The same type of list and organizational plan should be made involving of both paid and volunteer firefighters in the community. A thorough review of both fuel stockpiles and engine/equipment repairs parts must be conducted and an ongoing inventory kept. Fires will happen and spread more quickly during a disaster. A community awareness and training program should be created to educate residents about survival cooking and heating protocols. The residents should be organized into an old-fashioned bucket brigade so they can protect their homes and neighbor’s homes when, not if, fires happen and the response from actual firefighters becomes limited or fails entirely.
  • Medical – Health care options are already limited in rural communities where the bulk of preppers live. During a disaster, an ambulance will not arrive to transport the injured 35 to 45 miles to a hospital – which will likely be closed anyway. After a list of active, retired, and in-training EMTs, nurses, pharmacists, and hopefully a doctor or two in the area is taken, the group needs to meet regularly to practice setting up a triage in the community and reacting to a disaster scenario without the aid of typical communications and electricity. Two make-shift medical care centers should be established in the community. This will make them more reachable on foot by both caregivers and residents and preventing the loss of all supplies due to fire or looting from a single place. The SHTF clinics should be guarded around the clock by the defense team. The team should be trained to converge upon the existing medical facilities and pharmacies in the town immediately after disaster strikes to guard the medications and supplies. Volunteers who have knowledge of home remedies and community members, like athletic coaches and others who have had regular first aid training, should also become a part of the emergency medical network. Cross-training among the entire medical response team should occur regularly and include community first aid and “grow your own pharmacy” gardening and stockpiling of home remedy ingredients training sessions as well.
  • Sanitation – Disease will spread far more quickly during a disaster. Bodies must be handled carefully and disposed of properly to avoid further germ contamination and the illness or death of other loved ones or mutual assistance members. Learning how to safely handle a contagious body. How many bags of lime do you have in your preps? No matter how well your prep, loved ones will die during a long-term disaster – either from natural causes or because of the SHTF scenario. Calling the local funeral home will not be an option, but mortuary professional, students, and retirees are an essential part of the societal collapse community preparedness plan as well. Raw sewage and contaminated water will cause a multitude of illnesses and deaths during a long-term disaster. Municipal water department and sanitation employees will also need to be an essential part of the preparedness plan. A detailed, functional, and quickly actionable plan to deal with the delivery of water, cleansing of water, protection of waterways for distribution of water, and safe off grid disposal of waste must be developed. Citizens must be informed and trained about how to deal with human waste after the SHTF to prevent raw sewage from flowing into the streets and gardens – spreading deadly disease, destroying crops, and potable water. Designating a sanitation team leader in every neighborhood to train others now and monitor the daily status of water and waste should be established.

cattle

  • Food Production – Local gardeners, farmers, 4-H professional and members, as well as scouting and church groups can be brought together to help municipal leaders establish community gardens – even in urban areas, teach residents about container and vertical gardening, and raise funds for the purchase and distribution of both seeds to be planted now and to store until a disaster crop needs to be planted. Utilize the wealth of knowledge senior citizens posses for the creation of a food production team. Many parents and grandparents raised, planted, and preserved the bulk of what they ate. Having food to eat the moment disaster strikes and the grocery store shelves empty will prevent panic which leads to a world without rule of law and complete civil unrest. Discuss the creation or enhancement of backyard farming with local leaders and members of the community response team. Even a garden pond stocked with small fish will add to the on-hand food and water preps for local residents and should be encouraged. Many communities already permit the keeping of chickens, rabbits, and small livestock in suburbia and urban areas. The butchering of the livestock in an off-grid manner must also be worked into the food production plan – professional butchers, hunters, hunters will be a vital part of this team.
  • Communications Low-tech communications will reign supreme during a disaster. All members of the community preparedness team and as many residents as possible, should be equipped with compatible handheld radios and HAM radios – stored in Faraday Cages. A simple code for team use only code should be created so members and can use spray paint or similar markers to silently alert or leave a message for others. Symbols or colors, or a combination of both, can be used to relay short and direct messages and warnings. A similar community alert code should also be created and widely shared on a regular basis to ensure complete distribution before a disaster. Public address systems and speakers, also stored in a Faraday cage, should be stockpiled and ready to mount/use in designated areas during a disaster.
  • Children – Even the youngest members of the community need to be trained to help during a disaster – maintaining a daily routine helps prevent panic and to deter dangerous and reckless behavior. A local school or even a residence in a neighborhood can be turned into a SHTF schoolhouse. Children can continue being taught the basics while also engaging in disaster vocational training. Science lessons should focus on growing and preserving food, starting a fire, environmental safety, caring for animals, working with hand tools, etc. – such classes/camps should begin happening now. Starting or promoting 4-H and scouting will greatly help with this aspect of the preparedness plan.

How Will the Government Respond to a Societal Collapse? Not well, not well at all!

Six years ago, our entire Appalachian region went without power for more than a week due to a summer storm in the midst of a 105-degree heat wave. Residents had to drive at least 45 miles to purchase water and ice at the few stores which remained open and functional.

Even if you had enough gas in the tank to reach an open store, there was no guarantee you would walk away with either a case of water or single bag of ice after standing in a long hot line for hours. Gas stations were rationing gas during the short-term disaster. After waiting in a long line once again, I could buy – if I had cash, just enough fuel to get my SUV back across the county line and into my own driveway.

Eventually, a few big trucks pulled into the county seat and someone hopped out and said basically, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” The FEMA staffers that showed up three days into the natural disaster, did not bring enough water or ice to provide aide parcels to even half of the county’s population.

The government workers expected local volunteers to be on hand to help hand out the emergency supplies – but hadn’t bothered to coordinate such a massive effort with the local Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director.

Under typical conditions, the EMA director could have used the sheriff’s office dispatching system to page the all-volunteer fire departments which service the county. But, during a disaster, no matter the duration of the event, no one is operating under normal conditions.

Because the power was out around in a multi-state region, the firefighters, police officers, and EMTs could not charge their handheld radios on a daily basis. First responders with home generators took turns charging radios for their brothers and sisters in uniform so a skeleton force could continue to protect and serve around the county.

The county gas pumps which keep the fire engines, police cruisers, and ambulances on the road were also reduced to being useless chunks of metal during the short-term disaster. This forced all departments to prioritize how, and if, they could respond to emergency calls. The lack of fuel also restricted how often the first responders could run their handheld radios to a buddy’s home in their personal vehicles for charging purposes.

By primarily word-of-mouth, first responders, city councilmen, and the local mayor showed up at the high school to help FEMA distribute water, ice, and food vouchers. The extensive amount of time it to assemble a work crew allowed the a significant portion of the ice stored on pallets, to melt.

Many of those who made it to the front of the FEMA line before all of the ice melted and water was gone, were turned away. FEMA policy dictated each person who received aid present a photo ID to prove residency. The federal agency’s rules also prohibited picking up an aid package for anyone else. Once again, a communication breakdown and general lack of preparedness by the United States government left both local officials and those they represent, without the knowledge of the aid disbursement rules.

My eyes still water when recalling the look on an elderly backwoods pastor’s face when the federal government employee told him he could not take water to his equally elderly parishioners who no longer drove or didn’t have the gas, to get to the county seat.

Both the local mayor and school board president vouched for the pastor and verified the residency of the senior citizens names scrolled onto a piece of paper he clutched in his hand, but it made no difference to the FEMA guy who sent the man away with only a 12-pack of bottled hot water and the remnants of a small bag of ice.

Because the water was not transported on a refrigerated truck and it was 105 degrees outside, the desire to get a sip of cold water went unquenched. The summer heat wave had caused all of the creeks in the county to run dry. Many rural residents utilized well water – but the pumps which operated the wells were electric. Only the prepared had a manual dipper to use to tediously and slowly removed small buckets of water at a time during the natural disaster.

By the 72-hour mark, we were a thirsty, hungry, hot, and pretty stinky county. Even the most kind-hearted folks in our county became prone to temper outburst as they and their loved ones grew hotter, hungrier, and unbelievably thirsty.

The food vouchers given out by FEMA required not just photo ID to receive, but proof of income – low income. A public announcement made via a public address system hoisted onto the roof of a police cruiser informed residents they should come to the high school to get a voucher to not only purchase food, but to replace what they lost from their refrigerators and freezers after the power went out.

Nearly all 13,000 residents of my rural county converged upon the high school parking lot, only a fraction of them pulled out with a food vouchers. Volunteers helping with the so-called relief effort had to separate more than a few irate residents from frightened FEMA workers – several volunteers were past ready to take a swing at the government staffers by this point as well.

The middle and upper-class residents who shared all the bounty from their refrigerators and freezers with their fellow citizens were not eligible for a food voucher because they made too much money. Anyone who made $20,000 per year or more could not receive a food voucher.

The local grocery store chipped in to help the hungry hordes before a full-on food riot happened in an otherwise bucolic small town in broad daylight. The owners and staffers at the only store in the county guided residents using flashlights to find whatever they needed from the store shelves and the coolers – which would soon no longer be cool because the store’s generators were running out of gas.

Since most people rarely carry cash these days, a handwritten tally of needed items was crafted for each shopper who vowed to return and settle up later after the power came back on. Although the store not only recouped every single dime – and some tips for their potentially life-saving generosity, the damage to the coolers and electrical system caused by the storm was too expensive for the owners to repair. Our community lost its only grocery store two months later – a new one is just now entering the final stages of completion. The long-term economic impact of a short-term disaster cannot be understated.

For the first day of the disaster, everyone ate like kings and queens. Neighbors got together and went door-to-door and planned community cookouts at public parks in the county so food thawing in freezers and warming inside non-working refrigerators would not go to waste.

Many a prepper was “born” not just that day, but that week as the bulk of my friends and neighbors learned firsthand how quickly things can go wrong, how short of a time span it takes to become desperate and totally dependent on others – and praying for help that never arrives.

Your community will be on its own, know that right now. Every town, big or very small, has a disaster preparedness plan. Unfortunately, the thick dusty binder is left sitting on a shelf until the very day the plan inside must be put into action – unless residents take the lead and work diligently to coordinate preparedness efforts by networking with private citizens, local elected officials, first responders, faith-based and civic organizations.

borderline depression

Emotional Disaster Preparedness

You may have been practicing your survival plan, growing your own groceries, and honing your skills for many years, but have you prepared for the emotional toll living through a TEOTWAWKI disaster will take, until it happens?

Far too few preppers even attempt to address the heart-wrenching decisions they will be forced to make during a long-term disaster, or ponder how they will react when neighbors show up on their doorsteps, starving children in tow, while engaging in preparedness training with their own loved ones.

The almost daily presence of death and impossible decisions which must be made in a split second will overwhelm many folks, preppers and non-preppers alike. Making rational and life-or-death survival decisions WILL be impacted by your overly-taxed mind and heart.

Even the most calculated and selfish individual could not remain unemotional when a crying and desperate young mother stands at the entrance of your property and begs for food. Will you be able to turn her away – or shoot her if she refused to stop grabbing produce from your garden?

These hard decisions, and many more like them, will happen on a daily basis during a disaster. After a severe short-term disaster in our region, I told my husband I was all-in on this “prepping thing” he had worked so diligently on for years, but added one very significant disclaimer. I agreed to be his full-time prepping partner only if he promised I would be the one to deal with non-marauding hordes who found our semi-secluded homestead.

No, I am not a heartless woman, quite to the contrary – I am a vehemently loving and loyal momma/grammie. Handing a can of food and a gallon of water to the crying woman would keep her and her child alive for another day, but repeating that reckless behavior on a daily (perhaps hourly) basis would ultimately cause our own children and grandchildren to go without the food and water they need to survive.

Make no mistake about it, feed a person just once and they will return for me – and might not ask permission the second time around. Saying no, by any means necessary, will take an emotional toll. In all likelihood, you will know many of the people who show up begging for food.

That will make turning them away significantly more difficult. Keeping your mind focused on your one and only priority – the survival of the family, will be the only way to get through such soul-ripping exchanges. The person you chatted with at the grocery store last week and sat with during every PTO meeting can, and will, turn violent when pushed to the brink while trying to prevent the death of their loved ones.

The use of force against those you know and counted as friends may haunt you for the rest of your life, but there will often be no other choice during a doomsday long-term disaster. Once the community discovers you have food, water, and medical supplies/skills, there will be a steady stream of people showing up at your prepper retreat – or worse yet, an organized mob of armed and desperate people.

Everyone has the same opportunity to prepare. The only way to prevent those who chose to bury their heads in the sand from becoming desperate and dangerous is to work diligently to educate them and incorporate as many people as possible into the community preparedness project.

Every non-prepping convert who joins the effort and starts growing some of their own food, learning new skills, and will be ready to defend the community is one less individual you will have begging or trying to steal from your family after disaster strikes!

The post Societal Collapse: How to Prepare For and Survive It appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Mushroom Farming 101

Mushrooms are a perfect home project because they are grown indoors and outdoors. This means that seasons and weather conditions do not have bearing on your production.

They are a wonderful addition to your home cooked meals and a hobby or business a prepper should find exciting.

Mushrooms are part of a biological family called fungus and while mushrooms are considered plants, there characteristics say otherwise.

It is interesting to note they have no roots or leaves and therefore do not produce food of their own food. They however live of feeding of other plants and animals. They have special cells that digest almost anything.

Do I need Seeds?

Mushroom is grown from what is known as spawn. You can pick up spawn from any

Nursery  or agro dealer. You can also buy it online from sites like https://www.amazon.com/Shiitake-Mushroom-Spawn-Edible-Mycelium/dp/B012H9Z1SW.

In case you are not ready to begin your project, worry not as spawn can be stored in the refrigerator for almost a month at a temperature of 37 to 41F.

WHAT TYPE OF MUSHROOM SHOULD I GROW?

The main types of mushrooms one may choose to grow are

  • Oyster mushrooms- (Plertotus ostrestus) use Straw
  • White Button Mushroom- (Agricus Bisporus)- use composted manure and straw
  • Shiitake Mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) – Grown on wood and sawdust

The techniques of growing oyster and White button mushroom is the same while, normally in plastic bags and kept indoors. Shiitake mushrooms require logs and are kept outdoors.

Availability of a growing medium i.e. straw, wood or compost manure another important factor that should be taken into consideration.  In this article, we’ll focus on Shiitake mushroom and oyster mushrooms.

oyster mushroom

Photo above: oyster mushrooms

 

white button mushrooms

Photo above: white button mushrooms

 

shiitake mushrooms

Photo above: shiitake mushrooms

 

Where Should I grow my Mushrooms?

Oyster and White button Mushrooms need to be grown in a place where elements like light humidity and temperature can be controlled. A room in your house, a cabinet or closet will suffice. A perfect place to grow your mushrooms is the basement.

Shiitake mushrooms on the other hand are grown by inserting spawn into logs and are kept outdoors under a shade. Logs are trees that have been cut into smaller pieces and are normally used as fire wood and for fencing.

How to Grow Oyster and White Button Mushrooms

The main ingredients used to grow Mushroom are known as a substrate or medium. A good source for straw is wheat straw or rye and the average cost for this is about $10-12 from your local garden or feed supplier. The ease at which mushroom cells break down straw makes it an excellent medium.

It takes time and practice to be able to grow your own mushrooms over time, you will be able to tweak your growing methods and skills and adapt them to your needs and environment. The basic steps of growing indoor mushroom are:

  1. Pasteurize your Straw

Straw is essentially dried stalks of grain left over after the main crop has been harvested.

Do not be alarmed by the fancy looking word “pasteurize”! You should have come across this word on your fresh milk carton. Pasteurizing is essentially the reduction of the amount of organisms that would otherwise compete with your mushrooms for substrate and in effect this will aide in faster growth.

Pasteurizing straw requires you to have the following tools:

  • Lawn mower
  • 55 Gallon Drum
  • Large laundry bag or basket
  • Thermometer

The process is quite simple, by simply heat water to 160F and soaking your straw in it for an hour all the unwanted bacteria should die. Ensure that you do not exceed this time limit, as you will kill the good bacterial that your mushroom needs to grow.

  1. Cut the straw into small pieces about 2- 3 inches in length taking great care of those precious fingers as you use the lawn mower blade to cut the straw. Holding the straw with a hedge cutter will ensure your hands are kept safe. Take extra care not to get the hedge cutter to close to the blades.
  2. Make sure that have steady heat source underneath your drum and test that the water is between 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit. You can dry logs or coal for this.
  3. Test your ability to keep the temperature with your drum filled with water; this will help you keeping the water temperature while carrying out the pasteurizing process.
  4. Put your straw into a laundry basket and keep it submerged for an hour. Use your thermometer to make sure the temperature stays constant.
  5. Remove the straw from the basket and lay on a cool clean surface. Ensure that the straw has cooled to less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit before you decide to add spawn to it. Using the straw while still too hot will kill the mycelium required for your mushroom to grown. Below is a link of the process below:

Inoculation Process

Inoculation is another fancy word that mushroom growers like to throw around!  For preppers who like to keep things straight to the point it is simply the mixing of your pasteurized straw with the spawn. For this step, you will need;

  1. Food grade plastic bags,
  2. 8 inch Carpenters nail
  3. Pack the straw in with the spawn in adding generous amounts evenly as you fill you plastic bag. Ensure you compress it well but not too tight.
  4. Next, poke holes into you plastic bag. The holes are where the mushroom will grow out.

An instruction video on this process can be found below:

Growth Process

Hang your bags in a cool dark room. Ensure that that the temperature is constantly between 65 to 75 F.

It is very important not to disturb the bags during the growth process and to monitor the bags to ensure that they remain moist. If you observe your bags are getting dry use a spray bottle to moisten them through the small holes you made using the nail.

After two weeks, the spawn should have taken over the straw and by the 8th week, you should have some mushrooms to pick.

A Word of Caution

Ensure that your bag does not get to dry and this will kill your spawn. Too much moisture could also cause mould to form.

If you notice color spots in your bag in the form of blue and red colors then this bag is contaminate and should be thrown away immediately.

Mixing hydrated cow manure at a ratio of 3:1 with your spawn will allow for optimum results.

Seasons

Since Oyster and white button, mushrooms are grown indoors, the outside weather conditions do not really matter. While this is true, it has been found that you can grow different species easier in different times of the year.  The table below is a general guide of the optimum times to grow particular species

SPRING EARLY  SUMMER SUMMER & FALL WINTER
Oyster Shiitake Chanterelles Shaggy mane
Morel Elm Button Enokitake
Turkey Tails Garden Giant Maitake
Reishi Pioppino

Yield

A 10Lb bag of mushroom of straw and spawn should you 1.5-2lb of fresh mushroom.

While plastic bags are the common used materials in the growing of mushrooms, one should bear in mind that other vessels can be used like buckets, washing baskets as well as glass jars.

Growing Mushrooms from Logs

It is critical to use the right type of logs if you want to use logs to grow your mushrooms. Some type of wood like pine, cedar and fir should be avoided as they have inherent fungicide that will interfere with your mushroom growth. You should grown Shiitake Mushroom using this method.

Tips on Gathering Logs

  1. Advertise in local papers for logs, farmers and other people that would have excess logs should respond and be willing to deliver.
  2. Contact tree service companies. They should have tones of free logs they are willing to give away on their next job.
  3. When gathering logs, ensure whom you know who the land is as they may have been left behind for ecological purposes.
  4. Hauling logs will have legal implication across different states, find out what local traffic and laws are on gathering logs.
  5. Be careful while picking up logs as they may be home to a snake or two.

Select healthy logs that are about 3 or 7 inches in diameter and about 40 to 50 inches long. Caution should be taken in handling, as the bark should not be damaged. Your logs should have a medium thickness of bark.

Scraping your logs with a wire brush is also a method that will get rid of unwanted dirt on the log but ensure that no damage is done to the log itself.

The best species of logs to use are:

  • Oak
  • Hornbeam
  • Sweet gum
  • Hard maple
  • Iron wood

A general rule to remember that the harder the type of log the longer the life span and, softer logs will have shorter harvest times and life span.

  1. Before inoculating, ensure that the logs are moist. If they are dry, soak them in clean water for 2 days and ensure that the bark is dry before inoculation.
  2. Use a power drill to drill holes into the logs. You will want to drill to about an inch deep with a 5/6 drill bit.
  3. The space between the holes should be about 6 inches apart and in a grid pattern.
  4. After drilling holes, ensure that you add spawn into the holes immediately. Pack your sawdust spawn into the holes with gentle pressure so that your holes completely filled.
  5. Coat all your holes with melted hot cheese wax using a brush. Make sure the wax is not too hot preventing your spawn from burning.
  6. Your logs should be carefully stacked in a greenhouse, open shed or under the shade provided by trees. You may also want to cover these logs with shade cloth to keep animals away. Sprinkle water over your logs while you stack them to ensure you have good moisture content.

Keeping your logs hydrated is the main task that a mushroom farmer has for the 9 months month long growing phase.

There are two methods of keeping your logs moist

  1. Using a sprinkler to wet the logs for about 3 hours twice a week or
  2. Soaking them in water for about 10-12 hours once every two weeks.

Remember that keeping your logs moist is critical, as dry logs account for most failed attempts. Assessing the moisture content of your logs is essential and it is key to maintain this at 50-60%. Ensure that you allow bark to dry between your moisturizing processes.

Keeping the logs of the ground and dirt will also ensure that you have better results.  Use bricks or unwanted logs as the base of your stack.

You should expect to harvest in fall or early spring of the following year.

One can force fruits before fall by soaking the logs in cool water for 24 hours. You should then have mature mushroom 7 days after.

By stacking your logs into several stacks, preferably 6 levels high, you can have an all-year harvest. Soaking each stack for 24 hours every 6-8 weeks will allow you to have continual harvest all year round.

You can see how to grow mushroom from logs in the video below

Yield

You should expect an average sized log to produce ¼ lb per fruiting and 3/4lbs over its full lifetime.

Mushroom Growing Kits

A simpler method of growing mushrooms is simply using pre mixed mushroom kits. These contain bags of spawn already inoculated with straw. They require minimal effort.

Mushroom growth kits can be bought online or at your nearest agro store.

You will generally get two kinds of grow kits.

Mushroom that normally arrives as a block is normally Shiitake mushrooms as it would have been inoculated the same way you would manually inoculate a log.

Here are a few tips to get you fresh mushrooms in a few weeks:

  • Unwrap the mushroom block and freeze for two days. This simulates fall conditions when temperatures drop. This process is is similar to forced fruiting discussed in the “growing from logs section.
  • Open the plastic and place the kit in a dish with water using a weight to keep it submerged.
  • Remove the kit from the water after 24 hours and place on a tray
  • Cover the kit with the humanity tent provided with the kit and poke holes in it
  • Moisten the kit with water from a spray bottle a few times a day.

For the block to continue producing fruit, after harvest take of the humidity tent of for two weeks and repeat the above process.

Ensure that your kit is out of direct sunlight. You should be ready to harvest your first mushrooms in just over 7 days.

You have the following advantages by growing with a kit

  1. Time

Since the mushrooms are already inoculated, it requires less time to make ready to grow. All you really need to do it

The time it takes to grow is often shorter as you should have mushrooms within 4 to 5 weeks time.

  1. Variety

You will probably be able to enjoy more variety from mushroom kits than you would trying to find spawn from your local agro store.

  1. Price

Since spawn is normally for advanced growers and mushroom farmers it is generally expensive considering the fact that growth kits are already inoculated.

  1. Longevity

Grow kits will produce mushrooms every few weeks for a couple of months. This gives a nice steady supply of mushrooms.

Mushroom Growing Mistakes

For anyone growing mushrooms for the first time you are bound to make some mistakes. Try to look out for some of the following common mistakes that are made.

  1. Not maintaining the right moisture

Keeping your mushrooms either too wet or dry is one of the biggest mistakes that is often made.  Attention should be paid that the growing mushrooms are kept moist but not soaking wet conditions. Piercing a whole on the bottom of the container will solve the problem of sogginess.

  1. Using bad spawn

Bad or poor quality spawn will lead to failure or severely reduced yield. Ensure that the spawn is bought from a credible source link the link provided earlier in the article.

  1. Curiosity

Yes, curiosity still kills the cat. Tempering with your vessel while trying to check for changes could easily spoil the mushrooms.

  1. Dirty working area

Ensure that the environment around which you grow your mushrooms is clean. Poor and unsanitary conditions will lead to foreign organisms invading your project and this will cause certain failure.

While there are many more varieties, you will certainly harvest great tasting mushrooms from the methods that are explained above.

Final Word

DIY projects like mushroom growing make for excellent family oriented projects and hobbies. We would love to hear how your mushroom growing goes and if you have any tips and suggestions that will certainly be helpful to our community.

The post Mushroom Farming 101 appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

How to Get Your Concealed Carry License

We’re not all going to be near the weapons shed when the SHTF, so we should prepare ourselves to the best of our abilities. Though there are different ways to do so, one of the smallest tasks we can do is to learn how to carry a concealed pistol with us at all times. In this article, we’ll be going through everything that you need to know to get a concealed carry license. We’ll be establishing the different types of concealed carry licenses, and broadly describe what you need to do to receive a concealed carry license.

License Types

May Issue – This type of license allows legal authorities to grant licenses to carry concealed firearms to citizens who establish a compelling need to do so.

Shall Issue – This type of license requires authorities to provide a license to any applicant who meets specified criteria.

No Issue – Some states are Right Denied and do not allow private citizens to carry handguns, and do not offer concealed carry weapon permits

Method One: May Issue

Under the circumstances of a May Issue license, you’ll need to have a reason to require carrying a concealed weapon. Sadly, stating, “Just in case,” doesn’t apply, and your request will be thrown out immediately.

You’re under the subjectivism of what the courts determine as a “good cause” to obtain a concealed carry license in these states. It’s impossible to properly decide what good cause is, especially on paper. This gives the courts the right to deny any applications for concealed carry licenses and prevents any further attempts at gaining said license.

These states are the following that, by state law, have May Issue licensing: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

These states are May Issue by law, however, they often direct their licensing authorities to issue licenses to nearly every single applicant that comes through, with the exception of a few unlucky souls. These states become considered Shall Issue in terms of their practice.

Method Two: Shall Issue

These states are the following that, by state law, have Shall Issue licensing: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Unlike the May Issue, there is no requirement that the applicant provide a “good cause” for requiring a concealed handgun. Where each state’s individual law differs, sometimes at the drop of a hat, creating and updating the bylines of fifty different states wouldn’t be plausible. These are active at the time of this article, June 6, 2017.

If you’re in a state where Shall Issue licenses coincide with their laws and practices, you’ll need to provide the appropriate documentation. When you do so, issuing authorities will have no choice but to issue you a concealed carry permit.

Method Three: No Issue

Well, there aren’t many ways around this. By law, which can be different from active practice, the District of Columbia, alongside Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, certain districts of California, Massachusetts, and New York are subject to this.

Acquiring either type of permit in a No Issue state comes with some hoops to jump through. Primarily, you’ll need to be ex-law enforcement, an active on-duty security guard, or an active member of the military. There aren’t many circumstances apart from those that would be deemed acceptable to issue any type of concealed carry license.

Military Installation Rules

If you’re a member of the United States military, then you’ve already undergone extensive weapon usage and safety checks. You can probably disassemble and reassemble your sidearm with your eyes closed. Carrying a weapon onto or through a military installation, when it is personally owned, needs to go through the proper channel.

Typically, that decision will rest with the commander of said military installation. Installation policies will vary depending on the state’s predominant laws, especially under the No Issue states. That goes for merely transporting the sidearm to the ‘border’ between the military base and the adjourning city/area. While on a military installation, the standard laws of the state don’t necessarily apply, hence why you need approval from the commander. However, they can’t let you enter knowing you’re technically illegally transporting an unauthorized weapon to reach the base.

holster and gun on driving wheel

Training Requirements

We’re generalizing on this one, but several states require this before even applying for a conceal carry license. It’s a small price to be paid, and you’ll most likely learn a thing or two while you’re there.

Traditionally, you would go to a classroom setting to learn about weapon safety. Training courses provided by the National Rifle Association are usually combined into your classroom experience, complete with live demonstrations of gunfire on most training sites. Some states will recognize prior work as a police officer or military status as enough of a safety course, and you can skip this step altogether. It is recommended that you research the requirements for your own state to receive the most relevant information.

Rulings of the Court

Before we get onto the how-to portion of this article, you will need to know a few more things. Arming yourself with knowledge before delving into this will save you a headache afterwards, so its recommended that you play close attention to this section.

In 2008, in the Supreme Court case of District of Columbia V. Heller, the presiding judge Antonin Scalia wrote the following words:

“Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogs… The majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogs.”

To further clarify, the fight on this is never going to stop. We advise you to check .gov websites often to ensure that you’re up-to-date on all potential bans and court-related information. It’ll protect you from just about anything.

For a video on how to avoid court intervention if you’re transferring your concealed carry license or permit between states, for example if you’ve just moved, view this video below.

Registering for Your Concealed Carry License

 We’ve made it to the registration section. Keep in mind everything that was mentioned above, as well as any additional information regarding your individual state. Now we’ll be getting into how to actually apply for your license, including time restrictions on receiving your license.

Below is a general list of required documentation that you should already have ready. In some states, these might defer. These include the following:

  • State Issued ID (From the state you are applying for)
  • Social Security Card (Never bad to have this ready)
  • Background Check (Available through the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI))
  • Certificate of Completed Weapon Safety Classes
  • Documentation Showcasing “Good Character”
  • Additional Proof of Residency (Lease, deed, etc.)
  • $50.00 (Registration fees. Sometimes in the form of a valid credit card for identification.)

With all this information at the helm, you can usually apply online at most government websites. Otherwise, use their sites to figure out a physical address where you can go. Some states have this done at local precinct police stations, others at city/town hall locations. Try and see what works, and ensure you have up to date information to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Delays

You can expect anywhere from thirty to sixty days before you’ll receive your physical copy of the license or permit. In the meantime, there is no proper documentation to protect you from carrying a weapon, even if the application status was approved. If an officer pulls you over, and you notify him of your weapon with both hands on the steering wheel, he will ask for your concealed carry license or permit. If you do not have one, it will be a big deal, even if your weapon is registered and everything else is completely in order.

How to Act When You’re Pulled Over When You Have a CCW

You can review this video below for a humorous outlook on this scenario from an actual police officer.

The biggest thing to do is remain calm. It’s a daunting situation, especially with the nation against police officers during the better part of 2016. Police aren’t there to take your guns or to penalize you for having them. In fact, most police officers commend private citizens who carry concealed firearms with proper documentation.

Keep your hands visible, preferably on the wheel. When the officer arrives at your car, he’s going to say something pertaining to why he pulled you over. Wait until he is finished, look him in the eyes, and clearly state, “Officer, I just need to let you know I have a concealed handgun on (list area here, hip, halter holster,) I’m going to reach for the permit and registration in the glove box.” When they nod and okay it, do exactly as you’ve said, gift them the documents and return your hands to a stable position where they can see them.

This isn’t because they’re at-the-ready to pull out their guns and retaliate, but to give them peace of mind. Police deal with potentially deadly situations on a daily basis; they’re on alert, so don’t be nervous or stressed out.

Why You Need Concealed Carry License

The incident in this video linked below ends with some text that said, ‘The armed thug was shot twice. This was his third robbery in 6 weeks. (CVS & Radio Shack) He was arrested at the hospital and sentenced to 15 yrs.’

On top of protecting yourself, having your own legal sidearm can protect the public as well. We’re all in this together, and when someone threatens the tranquility of shopping at a grocery store at eight o’clock at night, members of the public with concealed carry permits can spring into action. It’s not recommended to act without thinking, however if it’s safe to do so, help others that are in need as a sense of public safety.

Penalties

Don’t take this lightly. These can greatly inhibit your ability to get a concealed carry license or permit in the future if you don’t tread carefully.

  • Jail: You can serve up to five years in prison if you’re caught with an illegally concealed firearm.
  • Fines: Fine amounts can vary, though stem into the low thousands, which is considerably less intense when compared to jail time.
  • Probation: Instead of prison, you can be put on probation the same way a criminal being allowed out of prison on early release would be. Depending on the state and county, this can be up to a full year.

The morale of the story is: do not mess around with this. In a post 9/11 world, these cases are taken far more seriously than before.

For things to avoid with your concealed carry license or permit, view the video below.

Conclusion

Take all precautionary methods that you possibly can. The whole process is not something to be taken lightly, considering the possibilities of citations and potential jail time depending on your state and country location. In all cases, knowledge is your greatest weapon to use. Using all the information we’ve provided above, as well as any additional research that you might do – you’ll be ready to face anything when SHTF.

The post How to Get Your Concealed Carry License appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

How to Make a Bulleproof Bug Out Plan

All preppers must have a quality bugout plan if they want to survive a doomsday disaster (not just an emergency). Even if you live on an amazing survival retreat and envision bugging in after the SHTF, a day could come when remaining on your homestead would no longer be an option.

There are three very important things you will need when developing a bugout plan – pen, paper, and time.

Spending just an hour or two conducting an inventory of your preps, and mapping out a TEOTWAWKI escape route simply will not suffice. Realistically, it will take not only multiple planning sessions but practice runs to find out if the bugout plan suits all the family’s needs and actually works when enacted in a real-world disaster scenario.

Creating a bugout plan is a monumental task which will likely feel overwhelming even for a seasoned prepper. Breaking down the plan into actionable segments is an essential part of the process.

Part 1 – Where will you go?

Bugging out without a known destination is a recipe for failure. Before you can plan what type of bugout vehicles you will need to transport the family and what gear and supplies are necessary to take along, a specific end spot must be established.

Don’t just think, “I’m bugging out to the countryside” and mark that down as a destination in the bugout plan. Circling an unfamiliar, and likely unwelcoming, rural community on a map is not a destination. Tens of thousands of panicked folks living in big cities and the suburbs will have exactly the same idea – all at once.

Rural residents, whether they are preppers or not, are more than aware of the marauding hordes which will be headed their way should a doomsday disaster strike in America. These people have guns, and know how to use them. It will take only a few hours after the SHTF for rural residents, who tend to be on a first-name basis with one another, to block off their dirt roads and stand on the county line and stop any strangers attempting to come into their neck of the woods.

Ideally, buying land to turn into a TEOTWAKI prepper retreat in a rural locale far from a metropolitan area offers the best chance at survival. But, if going that route is just not in your budget, there are other more affordable and viable options.

Securing a Bugout Location Options

Form or join a mutual assistance group – Being a part of a like-minded group of preppers not only enhances the overall available skillsets necessary to survive a disaster, it also allows a pooling of funds to purchase a prepper retreat property – and gives you the numbers which will likely be necessary to defend it.

Prepping Leases – Rural residents often lease a portion of their land for hunting purposes on a seasonal basis. It may be possible to engage in a similar arrangement for bugout reasons. Sure, a non-prepper might think you are absolutely crazy if you ask them to rent a spot on their land to park your camper year around and allow you to come live there after the SHTF, but don’t let that deter you – the lives of your loved ones are worth being stared at like you have two heads for a few moments.

Use social media and websites like Craigslist to find rural residents who are already allowing hunting leases on their land. These folks might be less shocked by a prepping lease proposal. Estimate a getting-to-know you period before getting a long-term lease contract.

When approaching a possible landlord, come prepared. Show the land owner background checks on all the adults in the family, share several heart-warming photos of the family to reassure the rural resident you are not a bunch of crazy people.

You should also be willing to show some financial documents and a credit check to further showcase your responsible nature and ability to pay for the prepping lease. Draft a “skills sheet” for each person who would be on the leased property. This may convince the property owner of the benefits of having you and your loved ones around during an apocalypse.

Create a prepping lease contract which details how the land will be used both now and after the SHTF and include a release of liability waiver to ease any concerns the property owner might have over potential accidents and injuries occurring on the property.

Once a contract has been signed, turn the site into as much of a functional survival retreat as the landlord, your available funds, and time allow. Get to know the community as much as possible, interact with the people there to increase your level of acceptance into their ranks during the rebuilding phase after a long-term disaster.

Every member of the family should carry with them a copy of the prepping lease to prove they have a right to access the property. This may help you get passed any armed community force protecting the area, especially if the land owner does not survive whatever type of disaster has taken place.

State and National Parks – Bugging out to a park is far from ideal, but is better than not having a specific destination at all and could be used as a bugout backup plan for the detailed plan you develop.

Both state and national parks offer various types of lodging facilities, fire rings/grills for cooking, typically have stocked lakes or ponds, and plenty of wildlife running around to hunt and trap. Most parks have a dining hall, restaurant, or concession stand which can be raided for extra food and supplies. Emergency gear and medical supplies are also stored somewhere on-site. A souvenir shop will be filled with clothing items and other useful tools and supplies geared to campers.

walkie talkies

Part 2 – Bugout Communications Plan

Far too many Americans have become dependent upon modern technology to communicate. Folks younger than 28 probably do not even remember a time without cellphones and having their every question answered by grabbing an electronic device and “googling” it.

When the SHTF, regardless of just about any type of disaster you can think of, the communications will become overwhelmed and crash or be destroyed by the apocalyptic event itself. Every bugout plan must devise multiple low-tech means of alternate communications so the family or mutual assistance group can connect with one another.

Handheld radios and HAM radios could become the most advanced and useful modes of communication during a doomsday disaster. These items should be properly stores in a Faraday Cage, even when bugging out, in case the apocalyptic scenario involves a solar flare or EMP which could fry all sensitive electronics.

A printout of emergency frequencies should be memorized by the family while they are being trained to properly use the devices. The list of frequencies should also be printed out, laminated, and carried with everyone who has a radio with an additional copy being placed in the fireproof box alongside other important documents.

Low-tech modes of communications only members of the family understand are essential to the bugout plan as well. Creating symbols or colors which relay a simple allow the family to leave warnings and messages for one another. Spray paint, permanent markers, or colored bandanas or string can be used as a non-verbal mode of communication.

Sample Emergency Phrases for the Communications Plan:

  • Not safe here, danger
  • Moved to next rally point
  • Launch bugout plan
  • Yes
  • No
  • Take alternate route
  • Moving on foot
  • Avoid roadway

family in the outdoors

Part 3 – Meeting the Family’s Needs

Next to selecting and securing a bug out location, this is the most important aspect of the bug out plan. While you have likely done the research and the math to determine how much food and potable water is needed to get to the bugout location, and have all those items organized into numbered or color-coded totes, there is so much more to consider when figuring out how to move your beloveds safely and quickly from wherever they are when disaster strikes to the survival retreat.

Survival skills are far more important than gear and must be carefully taken into consideration when drafting the bugout plan. If the family members cannot meet the expectations of the plan and emergency alterations of the plan, it is merely a useless piece of paper that took weeks or even months, to create.

Do not assume the entire family will be either in arm’s reach of each other or be able to chat/text via a cellphone or landline when the disaster happens. When I was a school teacher fire drills were always conducted first thing in the morning during homeroom, when no student was in the rest room, a teacher was always present with an attendance sheet in hand – never when the students were out to recess or eating lunch when there were only three adults supervising up to 100 students and none of them had an attendance sheet or even knew all the names of the children in their temporary charge.

If a fire had happened any time other than homeroom, neither the staff nor the students would be able to react quickly, safely, or with a clear head. Do not let confusion and panic be the go-to response for your loved ones during a disaster. Establish a set of simple protocols for all the family members to follow, despite their age – and drill for various scenarios when practicing the bugout plan.

School-age children will be faced with adults in a position of authority attempting to follow rules created by a non-prepper administrator if the SHTF while on campus. You need to know the details of the school response plan and how to factor it into your bugout plan – or teach your children when and how to defy their teachers and to put your escape plan into action. No school district is going to permit an older child to come take a younger sibling out of their care, know this now and plan for it.

Evaluate the family’s strengths and weaknesses during both the family’s survival training and the bugout plan practice runs. Chart the progress made by each loved one after each session and continuously work to improve the physical, mental, and emotional preparedness levels of your loved ones while working on survival skills. Always cross-train when learning and honing skills – if the only person who knows how to do an important aspect of survival, all that knowledge is lost if the person dies during the disaster.

Part 4 – Identification and Emergency Contacts

Create a binder of essential emergency contact information, relative’s names and addresses, photo of all members of the family members bugging out, and important documents such as birth certificates, medical records, and insurance and property deeds – in case society does return to “normal” after a long-term disaster. The binder should be placed inside a light-weight and portable fire proof safe and placed with the first box of preps that will be loaded into the bugout vehicle – and kept handy in case the family has to eventually abandon the vehicle and travel on foot.

A smaller folder of photos and emergency contact information should be carried by at least all the adults in the group, but ideally by each of the children as well. If the group becomes separated while bugging out, you will not be able to get on your cellphone and pull up a photo of the missing child or loved one to show to strangers.

If the adults in the group perish while bugging out or after reaching the BOL, the emergency contact information of relatives or close friends could be used to find someone to take the children in and care for them.

Part 5 – Rallying Points

Incorporate both the weekday and weekend schedules of the family into the bugout plan. The family could be in different location in the same town, or even in different towns and unable to communicate when the SHTF. This very real possibility makes what you pack in each family member’s bugout bag even more important.

The established routines of all members of the family should be used when creating rallying points in case of separation when it is time to bugout. The locations of the rally points should be practiced until they are memorized and laminated list of the locations always with each member of the family.

Children cannot take a bugout bag to school, but you can pack them extra snacks, juice boxes, a change of clothes, and a flashlight in their bookbag.

A few simple items like these can help keep them safe and feeling prepared while waiting for you at a rally point. The extra weight of carrying a family member’s bugout bag to the rally point if maneuvering on foot, must also be factored into the bugout plan practice runs.

Create a backup-rallying point close by each primary rally point in case the area the loved one is supposed to meet in unreachable. All family members should carry some type of paint pen or permanent marker so they can leave a coded message to if they had to move to a safer location, such as the backup rallying point or the next primary rally point on the list.

ford f250

Part 6 – Mode of Transportation

Whether you will relocate using a bug out vehicle (BOV) your everyday driver, or on foot – have a backup plan in case the chosen mode of transportation is no longer an option – which could be very likely.

Unless the BOV is EMP-proof, it might not move during the doomsday disaster. Even if the BOV runs flawlessly, the roads may be too clogged or unpassable due to the nature of the disaster, to make bugging out behind the wheel possible.

Bugging out on foot and on horseback, should be worked into the bugout plan. All the carefully packed gear in the BOV may need to be left behind, the bugout plan must take that into consideration if it is to have even a remote chance at being successful.

The weight of each bag must be feasible for each member of the family to carry – even the little ones. An all-terrain stroller for babies and young children should be a part of the bugout plan. Even if the stroller ultimately must be ditched along the way due to terrain issues, it will have substantial value for the quick movement of the family for the duration of time it is used.

Practice the bugout plan on foot to the logical degree possible to ensure each family member can carry the weight of the bag and is in top physical condition in case bugging out on foot is the only option.

Bugging out on horseback offers a far quicker pace and the packing of more survival gear possible. If you cannot keep a horse at your home, lease barn space at a residential or commercial facility nearby. Burying caches of gear near barn will allow you to pack more survival gear than you can carry on your back while walking to reach the horses.

arid soil

Part 7 – Understanding the Terrain

Seasonal weather fluctuations are also integral factors for the bugout plan. An escape route which is perfectly reasonable and accessible when you are working on the plan, could be impassible during a season of heavy rain, unseasonably cold weather that causes a waterway to freeze if bugging out by boat, or too rugged with dry waterways during the summer months.

Both the primary escape route and the backup route should be traversed by all possible modes of transportation incorporated into the bugout plan should be tested during practice runs during all four seasons of the year – and after an unusual weather disturbance.

Do not limit practice runs to daylight hours, the apocalypse might occur on a dark cold and stormy night – the family must be prepared to maneuver safely and quickly in low-light conditions while being pelted with a chilly rain.

Typically, a reasonably fit person can walk between 2.5 to three miles-per-hour on even flat ground for an extended period. When carrying a BOB the pace will be slower and it is not likely you will remain on solid ground for the entire journey. Burying caches along the entire bugout route is a great idea, but if it takes the family hours longer than planned to reach the next cache of hidden water or dry clothes, the group might never make it to the bugout location.

Traversing the route on foot is the only way to give you a realistic idea of how long it will take the family to travel regardless of the season and weather conditions. You may need to simulate portions of the bugout route with similar terrain for safety or OPSEC reasons.

If the journey to the prepper retreat would involve walking along a paved road if forced to abandon the BOVs, take the family to a public track or walking path and cover the same amount of ground while still carrying their bugout bags to get a close comparison of travel time and reaction to the pack weight.

Remember, the bugout plan is written on a piece of paper, not stone. Use what you learn during practice runs to adapt and improve the bugout plan!

wildfire forest

Part 8 – What Disasters are likely in my Area?

World War 3 would impact the entire United States, as wood a power grid down scenario, but some types of both short and long-term disasters are more likely to strike in some regions more than others.

Do your research and learn what types of natural disasters have historically impacted both where you live and your bugout destination. A life-changing event which could prompt you to bug out does not have to involve the end of civilization as we know it – every flood or hurricane survivor will remind you of that.

Bugout bags should not only cover all the survival basics but be filled to address likely needs specific to your location. If doomsday occurs during the time of year your town becomes an “island” due to flooding, your SHTF gear must meet those needs in additional to all the general ones.

Packing small individual inflatable floats or several blow-up vinyl boats and a manual foot pump with your gear could get the family over water-covered roads while bugging out. Utilizing waterways in your area when creeks are flowing could also give your feet a much-needed break when bugging out on foot.

Learning what areas could be rendered impassable during natural disasters will prevent unnecessary and potentially deadly, routes from be included in the bugout plan.

The post How to Make a Bulleproof Bug Out Plan appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

50 Bartering Items for Post SHTF

Once the SHTF, you will realize there are things you need that you don’t have on hand. Paper money may not hold any value at this time. Rather, you need to have items or skills on hand that you can use to barter with others for your essentials.

Even those of us who believe they are fully stocked should consider bartering items. Centuries ago, bartering was a normal event before the concept of money developed. If your neighbor had extra chicken eggs and you had more beans, a trade was the obvious way to get everything you need. Unfortunately, our society typically casts an ugly look at bartering, instead opting to purchase items rather than turning to neighbors and family.

The List 50 Items to Use for Bartering Purposes

Now, let’s take a look at what items you can stock up on for bartering purposes. They are in no order of importance! Don’t worry; you don’t need to have everything on this list for barter. Pick a few and plan to barter those!

Dan’s note: remember that if people find out you have some of these items, you could be in trouble. Adequate protection measures need to be taken, you have to learn to keep your mouth shut about them as much as possible. 

You also have to follow your own interest. So, for instance, if you want to barter with the first item on this list, water, then the thing you need in exchange for it better be more important (eg insulin, fever drugs etc.)

  1. Bottled Water: If we look at situations such as after a hurricane, the first thing that flies off of the shelves is bottled water. People need and want water. Having a large stock on hand is easy.
  2. Chickens or Eggs: If you raise a flock of chickens, you are in luck. Eggs are a common desire when bartering. If you have a large flock of chickens, you can also learn how to hatch fertile eggs, allowing you to barter chicks to others around you.
  3. Water Filtration Tablets: These tablets are rather inexpensive. One day, the water around you may not be healthy to drink without ample filtration. There will be people who don’t know how to filter their water.
  4. Information or Skills: Bartering doesn’t always have to involve trading items. What if your neighbor is a skilled midwife and your labor is pregnant? That is a great skill! You might be a skilled hunter or have a great understanding of medicinal herbs. You can trade your skills for the items you need. An example would be that you teach your neighbor how to identify local, wild herbs and how to use them in medicinal ways. In exchange, your neighbor helps to build a fence around your livestock.
  5. Canned Food: When you think of bartering, canned food is probably one of the most obvious choices. We need food. However, food will go bad and spoil eventually. Canned food is shelf-stable and lasts for years, even home canned food. Having a large stock is beneficial for you and adds versatility and flexibility to your meals.
  6. Dried Foods: Dried foods are in the same category of importance as canned and bottled foods. Dried foods have the benefit of being lighter and very easy to transport. When society is in transition, you will find that people want and desire dried foods. Dried foods provide those necessary calories while living in a tent and moving. Some examples are dried soup mixes, rice, beans, granola, and jerky.
  7. Baking Goods: I could group these with dried foods, but they hold other purposes. Flour, yeast, baking soda, baking powder and salt are vital for things such as bread.
  8. Soap: I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to stink even if the SHTF. After the calm has come, people are going to want to clean themselves. You can purchase bars of soap for pennies or free if you know how to coupon right. Cleaning wipes also will be valuable.
  9. Detergent: Very similar to soap, people will need detergent to keep their clothes clean. You can get small bottles of detergent at the Dollar Tree. I recommend stocking up on those rather than expensive name brands unless coupons and sales make it cheaper!
  10. Knives: Many people don’t own survival knives. While you might not want to give away your best choices, you can find some survival knives that are under $20. People will need knives for dozens of tasks. Having extra on hand will allow you to trade for things you need.
  11. Charcoal: People who don’t have access to firewood will want to stock up on charcoal quickly. It is one of the first ways that people will think about cooking their food. Charcoal could be bartered quickly after the SHTF.
  12. Bleach: Diseases and infections spread rapidly in unsanitary conditions. Bleach allows people to disinfect water, clean clothes or keep their living area clean. You could trade bottles for many items!
  13. Antibiotics: In a post-collapse world, the environment could be questionable. A simple cut could lead to an infection. Antibiotics have saved millions of lives. Chances are you can’t get your hand on a huge stock of Amoxicillin. You can use animal and fish antibiotics, which are usable for humans as well.
  14. First Aid Supplies: Before you barter any first aid supplies, you need to ensure you have enough for your family. If you intend to barter with these items, it would be a great idea to make pre-made kits now ahead of time or buy small kits. Things such as bandages, gauze, tape, triple antibiotic cream, allergy medication and more will be in demand. Just remember not to barter these unless you feel your stock is substantial for your group.
  15. Coffee or Tea: Let’s be honest; coffee and tea are not essential. However, once things have calmed down, people will want to have things that relax them and make them feel comfortable. A caffeine fix will be appreciated, or a glass of nightly tea can be something many people want, as well as yourself!
  16. Shoes: I don’t suggest you purchase the entire shoe department or devote a whole room to a shoe collection. However, shoes wear out, and people need shoes. Even maintained shoes would eventually need to be replaced. Adult and children alike will need shoes. If you have kids, you probably have extras they quickly outgrow If you have extras on hand, people will want them eventually.
  17. Batteries: It would be wise for you to opt for rechargeable batteries with a solar charger, but many people don’t think about those things. Small 4-packs of batteries will be a hot ticket item. You can get generic ones for fairly cheap at dollar stores. Big boxed stores, such as Sam’s Club or Costco, also sell batteries for great prices.
  18. Seeds: If you are a gardener, you are in luck. Start growing your heirloom garden now in preparation for this. After the collapse of society, you will need a garden to survive, but there will be nursery or stores to purchase those seeds. From a small garden, you can collect seeds from all of your necessary plants. Then, barter those seeds for things you truly need! People will need those seeds, making them a valuable commodity.
  19. Sewing Supplies: Needles and thread will be important for you to have for mending. For bartering, you could make small kits with thread and needles. These will be easy to make and cost effective.
  20. Fabric and Yarn: Eventually, the clothes on your body will wear out, and you will need clothes without holes. At some time, the weather will change, and your hands will need gloves. For now, fabric is available everywhere, but it will be a hot item someday. One layer of fabric can be the difference between fine and hypothermic. Having a collection of yarn and skills with crocheting or knitting is also great bartering item. In the winter, you can create gloves, hats, and scarves for your family, as well as having some for trading.
  1. Precious Metals: Immediately after an SHTF event, people won’t care about gold or silver coins. However, as things relax and the economy starts to rebound, gold and silver will be important. For thousands of years, precious metals were the way to purchase items. Right now, we consider gold and silver valuable because it is harder to get. One day, a stash will allow you to purchase or barter what you need.
  2. Guns and Ammunition: Another obvious choice for bartering is guns and ammunition. I want to start this off by saying you should only barter guns with those that you know and trust. You don’t want a firearm to end up in the wrong hands, potentially leading to harm for you or your loved ones. There is a chance they will simply turn the gun on you and use it after bartering. After that caveat, you should know that guns and ammunition will be a hot ticket item post SHTF. People will need and want ammunition. Hunters need it to provide for their family, and everyone needs it for their defense. There are few things as valuable as firearms when the SHTF. A hefty stock of ammunition is one of the best things you can invest into for bartering. You could also purchase .22 rifles, which could cost as little as $150 depending on sales. There are many people who believe you should never barter with ammunition. This decision is individual and entirely up to you and your family.hand crank flashlight
  1. Pepper Spray: You may not want to barter firearms and ammunition. In the United States, we are free to purchase pepper spray as wanted. It would be a great barter item, especially if you don’t fully trust them.
  2. Alcohol: Once the SHTF, we all are going to need to drink some alcohol after the worse passes. Even if you don’t drink, you want to have bottles in your storage. It can be used as a cleaning liquid, a solvent, a fuel and a preservative. Alcohol stores forever so long as the bottle is kept closed. If you find the right person, they may consider a bottle of whiskey or vodka extremely valuable!
  3. Flashlights: You will need to have batteries on hand, but people will want batteries. A LED light in the woods is very helpful. There are plenty of small flashlights that take a single battery to run, and some that are even hand-crank, which means yo don’t have to worry about dead batteries anymore:
  4. Cigarettes: You may not be a smoker (I’m not), but I recognize the value of cigarettes. People who are addicted will barter high for a pack of smokes. However, they are pricey to stock up. Another option is to learn how to roll your own and purchase supplies separately.
  5. Matches and Lighters: Matches are inexpensive, allowing you to gather a huge stock of them. Fire is a necessity for survival. Just like water filtration, you can even give these away to save lives. Lighters are a great choice, especially if you feel as if you can’t store the matches correctly. Matches have to be in a waterproof container.
  6. Sugar: My great-grandmother once told me a story about how her mother rationed sugar each week. If they didn’t use a lot, she would bake them a small cake. Sugar is precious. One day, people will want to create sweet treats or sweeten their coffee. Bags of sugar are inexpensive, but sugar needs to be stored correctly to last long-term.
  7. Toilet Paper: Yes, you can use things like newspapers and leaves to wipe, but some people will barter for toilet paper.
  8. Salt: For thousands of years, salt was a precious commodity. Nowadays, we forget just how essential salt is for our lives. Post SHTF, salt is an important nutrient and acts as a way to preserve meat. The great thing about bartering with salt is the current price. You can buy a pound for around $.50, a fantastic price that allows you to have a hefty stock immediately.
  9. Candles: There might not be electricity, so candles are a great bartering item. Taper candles are inexpensive and do their job lighting up a room. If you have the ability, making your candles is a useful skill.
  10. Diapers and Wipes: Kids will be there after SHTF as well, so we need to think about them. While our family opts for cloth diapers, many families don’t. You can purchase disposable diapers rather cheap with coupons or invest in cheap cloth diapers to offer as barter items.
  11. Hand Tools: My husband’s grandfather had a motto: why have one when you can have many. Because of this, we have a huge stock of hand tools such as hatchets, saws and other fix-it tools. One day, someone else might need a saw or extra screwdrivers. If you want to invest in these items but don’t want to spend too much money, check out yard sales!
  12. Painkillers: For obvious reasons, people are going to want painkillers. You might not have access to prescription pills, but you could stock up on things such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen.
  13. Milk: Unless you have cows or goats on your property, you will want milk. However, we all know milk spoils quickly. Powdered milk is the easiest choice. It has an extended shelf life. You could also purchase canned milk, but it is hard to transport.
  14. Condoms: I know you are thinking “really,” but you have to remember that life will resume a normal sooner or later. Post-collapse, an unplanned pregnancy could cause disaster. People will still have sex afterward. Condoms help to prevent pregnancy and STDs. They are relatively cheap if bought in bulk!
  15. Canning Lids: Canning jars might be reusable, but most canning lids are not. You can get a 12-pack for less than $1.75. Once things reach a sort of norm, people will want to preserve their harvest. Canning lids will be right at the top of their list.
  16. Feminine Hygiene Products: For very obvious reasons, women will want these. For yourself, I highly suggest you look into something reusable, such as the Diva Cup.
  17. Livestock: If you have a running homestead, you may have livestock to trade. Animals such as rabbits, horses, cows, goats, and pigs will be valuable assets for everyone.
  18. Spices: Eating bland food gets boring rather quickly. We already mentioned salt, but other spices will be in demand as well. You can get spices cheap!
  19. Sources of Fuel: Gas, diesel, propane, and kerosene will be in high-demand. You need to make sure that you have enough stored for your family. These items are essential for running generators, lamps and vehicles, along with appliances.
  20. Duct Tape: Duct tape is a fix-all solution for many people. It has hundreds of uses, making it a great item for bartering. People will want and need a versatile option like Duct Tape.
  21. Books: Books of all kinds will be beneficial post SHTF. If you are a homeschooling family like mine, we need books to teach our children. However, people will also want books because they can learn new skills from them or just simply to relax and escape from reality for a bit. Books that offer information about gardening and foraging could be valuable.
  22. Chocolate: Just like books, people love comfort items that take them away from the issues at hand. Chocolate is a comfort item that someone may value more than you. The only problems with stockpiling chocolate for bartering is the shelf-life, and the deserve to eat it before bartering!
  23. Firewood: No matter if you live in the city or the country, you need fire to stay warm. Having a large stock of firewood to barter is a great thing to trade. Some people may not have the physical ability to chop wood or lack the tools.
  24. Pesticides: Typically, I don’t encourage the use of pesticides. However, in this scenario, growing your food is a matter of life and death. There won’t be a supermarket down the road if your crops fail for the year. Unless you have decades of experience under your belt, get some pesticides.
  25. Toothpaste: Although it is unlikely toothpaste will fetch much, everyone needs it to keep their mouth healthy. Unclean dental hygiene can lead to even more problems. You can get tubes of toothpaste for free with coupons!
  26. Reading Glasses: Reading glasses are cheap! You can get a pair for less than $5. People will have eyesight issues forever. You can accumulate a random collection.
  27. Small Tents: Shelter is one of the most important items needed to stay alive. Consider purchasing a few small tents to have on hand.
  28. Mylar Blankets: To avoid hypothermia, warmth is a necessity. You could trade blankets, but they are large and harder to carry. Mylar blankets are cheap, sold in packs of 10 for less than $20.

There are so many items you can stockpile and barter… Remember, some items will depend on your climate. Cool weather clothing isn’t a huge necessity in places such as Florida. It is also a good practice to barter with those you know rather than seeking strangers. Set a plan and prepare for a future of bartering!

The post 50 Bartering Items for Post SHTF appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

What Is MOLLE and Why You Should Care

MOLLE (pronounced Molly, like the girls name), is the acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. Molle gear is the current Army standard for equipment carrying load bearing packs worn by the combat soldier.

NATO troops, especially the United States and Great Britain, utilize the MOLLE system. These systems are often employed by law enforcement agencies as well.

The system’s modularity comes from its utilization of the PALS (pouch attachment ladder system) system. The PALS system is a ladder pattern of nylon strips sewn onto the equipment in order to allow other gear and MOLLE compatible gear to be attached.

pack

Who can use the MOLLE system

The MOLLE gear carrying system is not only suitable for the military and law enforcement agencies. The civilian as well will also find it useful for activities such as camping, hunting, and even for a range bag.

The MOLLE system is also a superior system for general back packing and hiking as well as for your BOB and other survival gear. This is because it is the current state of the art technology developed after decades of military field pack gear use.

Why use the MOLLE system

By utilizing the MOLLE systems PALS ladder system for attaching gear, the weight can be more evenly distributed around the carrier’s body (see pic below). This enables you to carry more gear with greater ease.

Not only does the back pack utilize the PALS ladder system to attach gear, but there are chest rigs, vests, and belts as well that all utilize this same modular component style system of attaching and carrying gear.

The Army replaced the old ALICE system that had been in use in some form since the mid 1950’s with the MOLLE I system. The MOLLE I system was fairly quickly replaced by the MOLLE II system which is exclusive for the army’s ACU (Army Combat Uniform).

Some other branches of the military still utilize the older ALICE system but are starting to phase them out in favor of the MOLLE system. This change only helps to verify the MOLLE and PALS systems superiority over other gear carrying systems.

molle pack 4

molle pack 2

PACK 3

 

What are some other MOLLE gear components

molle chest rig

Chest rig/magazine carrier

If you really want to get all decked out in MOLLE gear for your “survival outfit” for SHTF/TEOTWAWKI, the best thing for you to start out with would be the chest rig. The chest rig comes in several different forms, depending on the manufacturer and style.

This is a really nice setup with adjustable pouches for your rifle magazines as well as your pistol magazines. You can also adjust the pistol magazine pouches to hold a knife or any of a number of various multi-tools. Or you can put pretty much anything you want or need to carry that will fit in the pouch really.

Here is a pretty good youtube review of a MOLLE gear chest rig.

Features of the chest rig are criss-cross style back straps with padded shoulder straps. These help to provide for the wearer comfort while he or she packs a half dozen rifle magazines, and another half dozen pistol magazines (or whatever else they want to put in there).

The rig has an interior mesh pouch for stashing away other items, as well as grommeted drainage holes for those pesky rainy days. Of course the rig is waterproof as well.

Some chest rigs also accept front and rear trauma plates (AKA bullet proof plates), and others are setup to hold a 100 ounce (3 Liter) water bladder equipped with a hose and bite down mouthpiece for easy hydration on the run.

Here is a decent video reviewing a couple of different types of hydration bladders.

Backpack, AKA rucksack, AKA assault pack

Of course you need a good pack on your back for carrying the majority of your gear. There are smaller assault pack style bags that carry enough gear for an assault on a post or going out on patrol.

You can carry food, medical supplies, more ammo, maybe a claymore or two, why not? These smaller packs are also excellent for the civilian for day hikes, get home bags, and over night or even weekend getaways.

The rucksack of course, is a larger version of the assault pack, although still a medium sized bag so you won’t have to be too concerned with over burdening yourself by inadvertently stuffing it full. It will hold a good amount of gear yet still be small enough to carry comfortably (if you can carry eighty pounds comfortably).

Here is a video that compares the old ALICE pack with the modern MOLLE gear pack.

But just because you have the larger version doesn’t mean you have to fill it with brass and lead. You can load other gear that you might need on top of what you could fit in an assault pack.

My personal bag is more of an assault pack style bag. But when I get it loaded down it can still weigh in at forty or fifty pounds sometimes, depending on what I put in it.

What I put in my bag depends on where I am going and what I am doing. I also use mine for a range bag when I go shooting. It gets really heavy when I use it for that as it is pretty much completely loaded down with magazines full of ammo.

I can also utilize the PALS ladder system to attach a MOLLE compatible, three mag capacity thirty round 9mm magazine pouch to the outside of the bag (as you can see in the picture).

The MOLLE system and its PALS

Since the PALS system allows me to clip other gear that I need to be more readily available to the outside of the bag, it keeps that equipment more accessible (in this example, 9mm ammunition). There’s nothing like trying to dig down to the bottom of your gear bag to get to something that you just realized you need. This would especially be the case if someone is throwing lead at you. That’s why having MOLLE gear with the PALS strap system on it can come in so handy.

I wouldn’t trust them to hold a loose grenade by the spoon like you see in some movies though, that’s just Hollywood movie practice. However, in real life, you can clip a grenade pouch onto the PALS system on the harness or chest rig and they are right there when you need them.

This video explains how to utilize the PALS system to attach gear.

This can be a hand grenade pouch or your M203 or M320 40 mm grenade launcher grenades or smoke poppers, or even flares. The PALS system is compatible for any pouch that utilizes the MOLLE/PALS attachment system.

For the civilian of course, you can use this same system to carry your 37mm “flares”, bird bombs, and powder markers for your various civilian 37mm “flare launchers”. Or you can even carry your can of “dip” or a pack of smokes in there, it’s totally up to you.

Other MOLLE gear

Other MOLLE gear that is currently available on the market is an innumerable array of bags and pouches. A quick search on Google turned up the website 511tactical.com, and a quick search there for MOLLE bags turned up sixty one variations of bags. There is literally a bag for pretty much anything you can think of to attach to a backpack.

There are pouches for flashlights, sheathes for knives, holsters for pistols, magazine pouches for carrying additional magazines, medical kits, shot shell ammo pouches, just anything you can think of.

In closing

The MOLLE system is an extremely versatile gear carrying system that it can be tuned to just about any need you can think of. Even if you aren’t into survival or the military or law enforcement, the MOLLE system is so versatile you could even use it for storing your arts and crafts supplies if that’s what you are in to.

No one setup is right for everyone or everything, but there is a way to setup a MOLLE system for anyone and anything. No matter your size, and no matter how much gear you can manage, twenty pounds or a hundred and twenty pounds, there is a MOLLE setup that will carry that load.

Not only will it carry the load but it will distribute it around you to minimize the effort required by you to move it. In the past all of the weight was on the back, pulling you back, and pulling you down. Now, with the MOLLE system, you can ease your burden.

If you are unsure of where to start in this array of gear but you want to set yourself up, hopefully this article can get you started. Just think about what applications you will be using the gear for and go from there. After all, the system is designed to be easily expandable and then if you need to go small, you simply strip the outer bags and pouches off of the bag or chest rig and lighten your load.

The post What Is MOLLE and Why You Should Care appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

The 5 Best Handguns For Home Defense and SHTF Scenarios

With home invasions are on the rise in America, defending your home and family is not something anyone should take lightly. While there are many schools of thought on what firearm is best for home defense, a handgun is the best starting point for any homeowner.

The handgun is the base of a prepared home. Rifles or shotgun do not make very good close quarters weapons. Handguns are simple to operate, easily handled by both men and women, and are the basic tools used by law enforcement in the United States.

The handgun has become the go to of law enforcement, concealed carry citizens, sport shooters, and gun hobby enthusiasts as the entry into the firearms world. In 2016 there were over two million firearms sold in the United States alone. The ability to purchase, train with, and carry a handgun is a real and viable option for those looking to defend themselves.

A defense firearm should be reliable, easy to repair, as well as easy to obtain parts and ammunition for use. The first reason the five listed below were selected was based on use across the United States. They are primarily used by police officers, making any of these a great firearm for home defense and prepping.

The second factor in picking these handguns was for the availability of ammunition. The most common ammunition in production is .22 LR and 9x19mm followed by .45ACP, .40 S&W, and .38 Special.

When thinking about your perfect home defense handgun, you have to think about your ability to handle it properly in light and in darkness. Your comfort with the pistol when you use it is has a life or death impact. If you cannot properly clean, load, handle, and fire a firearm, it will be of no use during a violent altercation and could be your undoing instead of your saving grace.

The Three Cs

When you go shopping for a gun, you must think about the three C: comfort, consistency, and cost. Too many people purchase a firearm based on cost alone.  Certainly you have to shop within your personal budget, and everyone’s is different, but your life and your family’s safety are worth more than money.  Thus, all three Cs must be considered when you prepare to make your purchase.

When it comes to comfort you must ask yourself the following questions: How does the firearm fit in your hand? Are you comfortable when firing said firearm? Will it fit into your everyday carry (purse, pocket, etc.) or will you need to buy a new wardrobe?

When you look at consistency, ask questions such as:

Am I able to hit the same spot on a target accurately over and over?

Can I consistently draw and fire the firearm without hesitation, fear, or obstruction?

Cost should again be your last question but not just in cost to purchase a firearm. How much will it cost to practice with the firearm? How much time will it take me to feel comfortable shooting this firearm? How much time will it take to become proficient with this firearm.

A firearm is a responsibility that includes spending time perfecting your skill, as well as responsible use and storage. A firearm may be a one time purchase for some, however it should never be a one time thought.

glock 17

#1. Glock 17

Glock is an Austrian based company that has changed the face of firearms. Glock has created a series of polymer framed semi automatic pistols built through years of exhaustive reliability and safety tests to emerge as the brand used by police and militaries around the world. With all of the mechanics of the firearm built into the slide and frame, Glock is the simplest firearm to maintain and use. It weighs around 1.5 pounds unloaded, which also makes it one of the lightest firearms around.

The Glock 17 is the most widely used law enforcement pistol in the world. Chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum, the most commonly used pistol round in the world thanks to NATO makes the Glock 17 is the simplest handgun to use. Since all of the parts of the Glock are internal, the ability for someone to have a failure while shooting is limited.

While the Glock is not indestructible, it is as close to as you can get. It holds 17 rounds of 9mm ammunition in a double-stacked polymer magazine. It is at the top of this list because of its ability to be used by all kinds of people due to its unsurpassed reliability, above-average magazine capacity (17 rounds in the standard magazine), and its low weight.

Another great reason to buy a Glock, is that different Glocks are able to use other Glock magazines of the same caliber. Glock also makes a Glock 18, which is a fully automatic pistol built for Military and government use. The Glock 18 is a fully automatic version of the Glock 17, and no, you can’t buy one. What you can buy, however, are the magazines for the Glock 18, which holds 33 rounds of 9mm Parabellum. If you live in a state that allows for high capacity magazines, owning a Glock 17 simply for this reason makes this firearm unbeatable by any other on the list.

The ability to carry large amounts of ammunition should you need to bug out and having the option to reload a 33 round magazine (after you are done with your 17 round magazine) makes the Glock 17 the most formidable firearm on this list hands down.

The Glock 17 magazines are so diverse that there are many aftermarket firearms including Kel-Tec that use Glock magazines for their firearms. With others jumping on the Glock magazine bandwagon you can almost guarantee that you will be able to purchase magazines for your Glock for years to come.

Glock 17 is also very reasonably priced. Compared to some of the top tier guns you may look at, a Glock 17 usually runs between $500 and $600 before taxes and paperwork fees. For a firearm that has not been changed much since its inception, Glock is one of the best values for your dollar and your magazine.

 

Beretta 92FS
photo: via Wikipedia

#2. Beretta 92FS

In the same vein as the Glock 17 comes the most trusted firearm in military service since 1985. Adopted as the M9, the Beretta 92FS has been the standard for military, police and tactical pistols for over a quarter century. The 92FS was designed so that all the parts would be 100% interchangeable to simplify maintenance for large government organizations.

The 92FS also includes a reversible magazine release which lets you use either hand for tactical magazine changes. An ambidextrous safety-decocker makes the firearm flexible for right or left-handed shooters. This ambidextrous design also makes trying out different gripping or shooting styles simple and effective. Beretta’s own “Bruniton” finish is highly resistant to sweat and corrosion and gives the 92FS it’s famous blue color.

During test trails for The Department of Defense, the Beretta 92FS was exposed to temperatures from −40 to 140 °F (−40 to 60 °C).  It was also soaked in salt water, dropped repeatedly onto concrete, as well as buried in sand, mud and snow. The 92FS also has one of the best a MRBF (mean rounds before failure) of 35,000 rounds. That number is equivalent to five or six times the pistol’s service life, making the 92FS one of the best service firearms in the world.

In further designing the 92FS, Beretta wanted to make cleaning and disassembly easier than the previous 1911A1 model pistol.  Beretta designed the 92FS to have a tool-free disassembly latch which makes it a snap to take the pistol apart for cleaning. Thanks to NATO this pistol is available in 9x19mm. This pistol is the primary sidearm of the United States Military.

Like Glock, Beretta has made a machine pistol known as the 93R which, has allowed for high capacity magazines to be produced which fit inside the 92FS including one that holds 32 rounds of 9x19mm. This makes a Beretta a formidable pistol. Another bonus is that spare parts, including magazines and sights are easily available.

The Beretta 92FS magazines are also used in the Beretta CX4 Storm. The Storm has become the go-to tactical carbine for shooters who want to carry both a pistol and rifle made by Beretta. With this innovation as well as the 92FS being THE Untied States Military sidearm, you would be hard pressed to find another pistol that could hold its own against the Beretta 92FS.

The Beretta 92FS has a higher price point than the Glock’s. A Beretta 92FS usually runs between $650 and $750 before taxes and paperwork fees.

 

glock 22
Photo via wikipedia

#3.  Glock 22

The Glock 22 is the big brother of the Glock 17. It is chambered in .40 S&W, a round that was designed by Smith and Wesson along with Winchester to replace the Federal Bureau of Investigations 10mm auto cartridge. The .40 S&W has quickly become the preferred round for law enforcement and firearms enthusiasts. While this round has plenty of stopping power it is not as common as 9x19mm or .45 ACP again due to contracts with NATO to produce ammunition for over 70 countries.

Glock was the first manufacturer to make this effective round accessible for law enforcement agencies in a high quality firearms package. Today, police agencies across the United States, including the Los Angeles Police Department and countless others throughout the world, have adopted the Glock 22 as their firearm of choice. With 15-rounds of .40 S&W ammunition this pistol makes a powerful sidearm and primary weapon for law enforcement. The power of a .40 S&W round is over 1,100 feet per second, making the switch from 9x19mm to .40 S&W a very slight one.

The one drawback is the sometimes-limited stock of this ammunition.  Although, with the adoption of this caliber by law enforcement around the United States it has become a bigger factor in the last several years. Another flaw in the Glock 22 is that the larger round of .40 S&W also makes the grip slightly larger than on the Glock 17. While it is minimal, many people (including those with smaller hands or smaller stature) tend to have a tough time adjusting to the Glock 22 even after becoming accustomed to the Glock 19. While this is a small issue, it should be noted that many people prefer one Glock over the other.

Glock 22 is also very reasonably priced. Compared to some of the top tier guns you may look at, a Glock 22 usually runs between $500 and $600 before taxes and paperwork fees. No matter which one you prefer, Glock is one of the best values for your dollar and your magazine.

 

Colt 1911 Series 70

#4.  Colt 1911 (and Variants) 

The Colt 1911 and its many variants are some of the most reliable firearms ever created. Having served the United States Armed Forces from its adoption in 1911 until its official retirement in 1986, it is a firearm with a rich history. The 1911 was such a popular firearm that the United States government procured over 2.5 million of these pistols during its time in service.

The Colt 1911 was designed to take the large .45 ACP round meant to replace the military revolvers of the era. Alongside the Thompson submachine gun the 1911 was a welcome edition to the battlefront of World War Two. The power of the .45 ACP is almost unmatched by any other mass produced ammunition cartridge. The 1911 fires the .45 ACP at a rate of 830 feet per second making it a powerful firearm indeed.

The 1911 features include: an arched steel mainspring housing and a short steel trigger, a standard safety lock, standard grip safety and spur hammer. It is one of the most customizable firearms in the world and can be modified easily as well as repaired and cleaned with ease. However, due to its technical design many owners will have to seek the assistance of a trained gunsmith, should the 1911 need repairs.

While the standard size 1911 weighs almost 2.5 pounds unloaded, there are many smaller versions of John Browning’s design. The 1911 only holds seven rounds in a magazine and when carried always has a round in the chamber for a total of eight rounds. While the 1911 is one of the most common every day carry firearms, it is not ideal for anyone with small hands or a small frame.

The 1911 series are the most used firearms for competitive shooting and military special operations teams. Usually referred to as “race guns”, upgraded 1911’s are designed for specific styles of shooting, from fast draw target shooting to closed quarters combat. From Colt to Wilson Combat, the ability to customize and upgrade an 1911 are almost endless.

If you are looking for a one of a kind firearm that you want to put your heart and soul (as well as hard earned dollars) into, a 1911 may be the very firearm you are looking for. If you are looking for a firearm that has proven itself on more battlefields around the world than any other firearm, the 1911 is definitely for you.

Based on the variations between models of 1911’s and the amount of customization, a 1911 can run anywhere from $800 and $2000 before taxes and paperwork fees.

 

ruger sp 101 public domain

#5. Ruger SP101 (revolver)

If semi-automatic firearms are not your thing, or you are simply a lover of revolvers (and there are many who fall into that category) you might consider the Ruger SP101. Ruger has been around since 1949. They most popular for their semi-automatic rimfire .22LR rifles and pistols.  However, they make some of the best revolvers in the marketplace today. The Ruger Sp101 has many versions and comes chambered from .22 LR up to .357 Magnum. The vast array of calibers makes it easy for a novice shooter to carry anywhere from 5 rounds (.38 Special and .357 Magnum) up to 8 rounds (.22LR).

A revolver offers a novice shooter or concealed carry holder a smaller and more compact firearm with a single action to perform: pulling the trigger. In times of great stress or fear, this single action of only pulling the trigger could be the difference between life and death. A revolver is a traditional concealed carry and the Ruger SP101 is an ideal backup carry for any gun owner.

Many people are hesitant to purchase a revolver due to the external hammer, but this problem is easily solved since you can also purchase a hammerless SP101.  This way you can carry such a firearm in your purse or on your ankle without fear of snagging the hammer on anything. Another fear is the weight of the Ruger SP101. Weighing in at about 1.8 pounds, the small revolver is considered heavy. However, heavy for a revolver is not a bad thing as the weight helps to dissipate the force of the projectile when firing which tends to make many people more accurate with a revolver than with a semi-automatic.

Due to the variation between models of SP101, a Ruger SP101 can run anywhere from $700 and $1000 before taxes and paperwork fees.

Conclusion

While there is no single “best” firearm, there are some excellent options for shooters of all ages, sizes, and income levels. A firearm is like a car, you should know how to operate, perform minor repairs, and handle it all in a safe manner. You would never buy a car you have not test-driven, and it is always recommended that you test every firearm for a minimum of fifty rounds before deciding to purchase.

A firearm is a life saving and life taking tool that cannot be taken lightly. Your life and the lives of others depend on the amount of education, preparation, and dedication you take to your firearms ownership. Without a fair amount of range time, instruction, and familiarity with our firearm you are just buying an expensive paperweight.

Every firearm is a tool and you must ensure you have the right tool for the job. Perhaps you are a concerned father who wants that right handgun to keep close, should the need to use it ever arise. Your primary concern will be a handgun that works well in close quarters. If you are a soccer mom, you have to think about where you will be carrying your firearm and what items you carry with you on a daily basis. From purses to fanny packs, certain firearms are better suited for your daily duties. Your ability to safely carry and retrieve your firearm should be high on your priority list.

A pistol is the backbone of a solid home protection and SHTF scenario. Often, we live in urban or suburban environments, which means our threats are usually on top of us before we realize the danger we are facing. The factors for buying a pistol for defense, whether it be in a SHTF situation or an everyday carry, are varied like each person who owns a firearm.

There are many schools of thought on which firearm may be the “best”. Do you want something simple? If so, a revolver fills this need. Do you want to be able to find ammunition anywhere should the SHTF and you are forced to protect and scavenge? If so a 9x19mm pistol or .45 ACP has the most available ammunition due to NATO and the mass production of military grade ball ammunition. Are you looking to be able to work with law enforcement? Then a .40 S&W caliber pistol may make the best sense.

The post The 5 Best Handguns For Home Defense and SHTF Scenarios appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

How to Make Your Own Water Distiller

Drinking tap water is not as safe as most people may believe. Instead, it can be a cocktail of fluorine, chlorine, plus other chemicals. Now, imagine if the SHTF.

Your water mat be contaminated with heavy metals, bacteria, protozoa and even viruses. There are many ways to purify it but only one is guaranteed to remove ALL of them, and that’s distillation.

Water regulations and the treatment methods that are used in the United States are extremely outdated. Toxic chemicals are not addressed in the proper manner. The Safe Drinking Water Act only watches over 91 different contaminants. However, there are over 60,000 different chemicals that are known in the United States. To really get an idea of how unhealthy tap water really is, here are some facts you should consider:

  • Tap water has arsenic in it.
  • There are radioactive type particles in the water.
  • It includes mercury, lead, and other poisons.
  • There are dozens of thousands of different chemical compounds.
  • Water treatment plants are unable to remove all the toxins in the water.

Besides the E. coli scare that had prompted many bottling facilities to take put out a recall on fourteen different brands of water, choosing bottled or distilled water instead is definitely the best option.

Top Pollutants Found in Our Water

  • Fluoride
  • Chlorine
  • Pharmaceutical Drugs
  • Aluminum, Lead, and Other Metals
  • Arsenic
  • Hexavalent Chromium

How to Distill Water

In this article, we’ll show you how to make a water distiller easily, using cheap materials. The best part is, this will help you purify an UNLIMITED quantity of water.

There are many different types of methods that you are able to use for distilling water; however, mainly it involves boiling it into vapor. Due to the pollution that has accumulated, the rainwater is not always a very safe source. In a pinch, if that is the only water you can obtain, then it will do. The vapor will eventually leave all contaminants behind. When water turns to vapor completely, the latter will go into another container that is clean. Then it will condense into its liquid form, which is water.

Distilling with a Stainless Pot

You will need a pot that has a 3 to 5 gallon capacity. It will need to be made of stainless steel. You will also need a baking rack, a heat resistant glass bowl, ice, and tap water.

  1. First, put your rack on the bottom of the pot.
  2. Fill it up with some tap water up to the halfway point.
  3. Put the glass bowl inside of the pot. You will need to make it float on the surface of the water. Keep in mind that the rack will need to support that bowl so that it does not reach the bottom of the pot.
  4. Turn the lid of the pot upside down; place it on the pot.
  5. Fill the lid with the ice.
  6. Allow the water to boil for approximately 45 minutes.
  7. Put more ice in as needed. The ice will turn to steam when it begins to boil. Inside of the pot, the steam will hit the lid. It will then begin the condensing process due to cooling down. It will turn to water and drip inside of your bowl. Once your bowl is filled, you will turn your stove off.
  8. Remove the lid of the pot.
  9. Using a pair of heat resistant gloves, remove your bowl that has the clean water.
  10. Allow the water to cool down. You can then pour the water into clean bottles. Make sure that the bottles are safe to use for long time storage. There are many containers that should not be used long term.

Using a Stove or Grill to Distill Water

This is very similar to the method of using a stainless-steel pot. However, the water that is distilled is collected inside of a container that is on the outside of a pot. In order to use this method, you will need a funnel that will be attached using an aquarium type of tubing. However, in order to get the funnel to work properly, you will need to have the tubing at a lower elevated level than your funnel. One of the advantages of this method is that you will not have to wait for your pot to cool down.

Getting Distilled Water from Rain and Snow

Just like you can with tap water; you are able to use rain or snow to obtain distilled drinking water. These are two of the main options of water sources that can be taken from the outside.

You will need to collect rainwater or snow inside of a clean container. The safest and cleanest snow to use is the one that is the freshest. The longer that the snow sits out, the more dust and dirt particles are collected; thus, increasing the number of minerals on the snow. Another thing to keep in mind when collecting snow is to stay away from roads as there might be chemicals that are spread off to treat the roads. You will then allow it to settle for a day. In most cases, you are able to pour off clean water from your collection and use a coffee filter to strain it. You will then boil it.

To test the water, make sure that it has a reading of 6 to 9ppm.

Distilling Water Using Solar Power

Solar energy can save some money as all you really need is the the sun. This can be a permanent solar still that can distil water on a constant basis. A solar still is a glass covered box that is painted on the inside. A pan filled with water is placed inside the still and the device is then placed out in the sun. As the water vapor hits the glass, it condenses the water and runs it down to the catch tube.

The sun powers solar distillation. It does not need any type of fuel or any electricity. It is extremely practical if you need to collect distilled water to collect. This process takes advantage of vaporizing water. This method will remove bacteria, salts, and metals from your water. Using this method can even take out the chemical called trichloroethylene, along with the carcinogens.

Directions:

  1. Make a box out of plywood with a door for the water pans. The inside dimensions of the box should be 23 inches long by 19 inches wide. The front of the box should be 6 inches tall, while the back should be 9½ inches tall. The side of the box is constructed from two layers of half-inch plywood, and the bottom should be constructed from ¾ inch plywood.
  2. You will need a piece of glass that is 24 inches.
  3. When inserting the glass into the box, hold it in place with a silicone caulk.
  4. A base shoe or quarter round can be placed on the glass to finish the box.
  5. When nailing the box in place, make sure to avoid the glass with the hammer or a nail.
  6. Cut a ¾ or 1-inch thick aluminized insulated cover to fit inside the box.
  7. Place it in the bottom with the aluminum side up.
  8. The inside of the box should be painted flat black so that it can absorb as much light as possible.
  9. For the water pans, it’s recommended that you use Pyrex dishes to reduce the risk of any breakage. (This still can hold two Pyrex dishes).
  10. Use a rubber door seal at the drip edge. Glue it in place with the silicone caulk and allow to fully dry. (Ensure that you have filled the side that attaches to the glass).
  11. Place the glass on the box to mark where the drip edge is. Remove the glass to install the drip edge before installing the glass back onto the still.
  12. Install a ½ inch schedule 40 PVC pipe that is slightly less than inch (0.875 inch).
  13. Partially drill through the opposite wall of the box from the inside.
  14. Glue the pipe into the hole and secure with the silicone caulk.
  15. For the catch tube, cut two lengthwise pieces of ½ inch PVC pipes at about 120 degrees. The drip tube should be secured with a pin at the outlet end.

Distilling Water from Plants

If you are faced with a water emergency, you can distil water from plants. You will need green plants, a clean container, plastic wrap, or equivalent, as well as a small sized rock.

  1. You will dig a hole. It should be enough so that it is able to accommodate the container in the middle.
  2. Pile up some wet plants around the hole around your container.
  3. Cover up the hole with the plastic. Make sure to secure it with some rocks. You will need to ensure that the moisture does not escape.
  4. Place a small rock or pebble in the center of the plastic to make a small depression in the plastic.
  5. One the water begins to evaporate; the vapors will condense on your plastic. It will collect and fall from the depression that you made using the small rock. Even though this is a time-consuming method, it might save your life should TSHTF.

If you would like to speed it the method up, you can dig your hole right where the sun is shining directly onto the ground. It will capture the heat more and evaporate the water much faster. If you would like to continue this method, just add more plants like ferns and cacti. Ensure that you do not collect any of the poisonous plants, as they are full of toxins.

Distilling Seawater

Just one drink of ocean water can cause you great discomfort and deadly dehydration. This is due to the extremely high salt content. However, it can be distilled into water that will keep you alive and well.

  1. Fill up a pan and put a clean glass in the middle of it.
  2. Pour the seawater inside the pan and stop once it reaches the mouth of your glass.
  3. Make sure that none of the seawater escapes into the glass. Place the cover of your pot upside down.
  4. Build up the fire and begin to boil your water.
  5. The water will boil and the steam will then condense onto your lid and fall into your glass.

Using Glass Bottles for Distillation

You will need two empty bottles made of glass. These bottles should be clean. This one method is best done using bottles that have a curve on the outside of the neck in order to prevent the steam water from returning into the bottle it was once in.

  1. You will fill up one of your bottles.
  2. Fill it till it is about 5 inches from the very top.
  3. Set the bottles next to each other.
  4. Using duct tape, secure them together.
  5. You will then get a pot. Fill it up with enough water to cover the bottle that you have filled with water.
  6. Tilt the bottles at a degree of 30 with the bottle that is empty leaning on the side of the pot rim. It will be a good angle to catch the evaporated water.

Conclusion

Everyone agrees with the fact that we need water to survive. The biggest hazards we face from water are the microorganisms like bacteria, protozoa and other parasites that are able to enter our bodies through the water that we think is clean. This is an issue that every survivalist should think about and find ways to combat this growing problem. We will have enough to worry about if the SHTF that we don’t want to add finding clean water into that list.

If you do not wish to get distilled water from any of the methods above, there is an option for you to purchase an expensive or inexpensive distiller. An inexpensive distiller, like the Megahome Water Distiller, can give you high quality equipment and great performance while still being easy to use. There are plenty of options in the market, you can choose one that suits your wants and needs.

However, if you want to be a true prepper and try to figure this out yourself, we’ve got just the thing for you. We have given you inexpensive home solutions and remedies to solve all your water purity problems. This article gives you all the feasible ways to make it slightly easier for you and your loved ones to enjoy clean and drinkable water no matter what happens.

The post How to Make Your Own Water Distiller appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

How to Insulate Your Attic

Winters can be brutal on keeping your home heated, especially for off-the-grid living. You don’t want to deplete your power bank by pumping electric-based heat into the home, only to vanish through the rooftop. To ensure you’re not wasting your time and resources, insulating your attic is completely necessary.

We’re going to look at some great insulation products, alternatively make our own, and how to effectively insulate your attic to stop the winter from leaking in.

Earth Wool

This is an extremely amazing material. While it doesn’t conduct electricity, is non-flammable and soundproof, there doesn’t appear to be any other generated material like this on the market; a tier above the rest.

It’s a soft, durable material that’s one of the best insulation pieces on the planet, hands down. Energy efficiency comes from the sustainability of the product, filling in every crevice you can think of.

It works exceptionally well for thermal bridging, as well. Not just the basic padding along the floors and walls of your attic. You’ll save truckloads on your heating and cooling costs.

You’re not going to have irritable, itchy skin lasting for the rest of the day, waking you up at night with scratching.

There’s no formaldehyde or other rough chemicals found in Earth Wool, so it’s safe to touch with your bare hands. It’s made with recycled glass bottles and sand, as well as other eco-friendly materials.

In the packaging, Earth Wool weights a hefty amount. It isn’t until you open the airtight packaging that it expands to eight times that of the package’s size.

It’s way better than buying sheets of that pink insulation from Home Depot; there’s no travelling storage capability. You can pack your car or truck without compromising space.

Spray Foam Insulation

A great alternative if you’re not too skilled with installing insulation or don’t want to purchase enormous bundles of Earth Wool. You can use a two-part spray foam insulation package that looks like the ones in the video above.

Depending on how thick you want to make your own insulation, you’ll have to do a bit of math in determining how much you’ll need. In the video above, he’s using a 200 kit, meaning it’ll cover 200 square feet of space at an inch thick.

For the most part, I’d recommend two or three inch thick insulation. You’ll have to weigh the cost to see if this is something you’d want to do with spray foam, or another type of insulation.

Get your spray gun ready by following the instructions inside of the packaging, and note one thing: this stuff dries pretty quickly. Your nozzle can get clogged when the two different foams mix, and ruin your nozzle entirely. Try and get all set up to use the entire 200 system all at once to minimize waste.

Get a face mask so you don’t inhale the chemicals; it’s got a funky odor to it, so even if you’re in a wide open space with plenty of ventilation, it’s still recommended to grab a box of masks to avoid the smell. Don’t worry; when it dries, there’s no persisting odor whatsoever.

When you spray this foam, it expands. Depending on where you’re spraying the foam (you can use it in your attic; the video just has him insulting his basement wall,). Be sure to remember that it expands so you don’t overspray and fill up areas with too much of it.

100% Recycled Newspaper Insulation

Recycled material is awesome, and most of the time it’s more powerful than standard materials that are loaded with unnecessary fillers. The newspaper fiber insulation is no exception, and fills in the walls absolutely perfectly. These insulations are blended with an aluminum-based chemical to prevent insects from settling in your walls, and to bring the fire safety standards up to par. You’ll definitely want to check this out; it’s versatile for a million different projects.

Making Your Own Insulation

Okay, so now we’re getting self sufficient. It’s time to make our own insulation, and we’ll try to make it on the cheap. This guide avoids any dollar amounts because it’s impossible to assume what you’ll need for your project. Every house is different in dimensions and required material. That being said, attempts to calculate costs at your leisure while reading this guide.

You’re not going to get fire safety regulated reports on this, but it’ll work all the same. As long as you’re exercising safety when installing these, then there shouldn’t be any issues.

Much like the corporate 100% recycled newspaper insulation, we’ll be making a high volume of recycled materials into effective insulation throughout your attic. For this, you’ll need to rent a hammer mill for grinding up the paper products effectively.

If you don’t have one, you won’t get that fuzzy, fluffy feeling we’re aiming for. If you can look at your insulation and make out the previous day’s newspaper headlines, you haven’t done it finely enough.

Feed paper, cardboard, and n newspaper through the hammer mill grinder. Or, if you’re feeling crafty, you can purchase a shredder and use it like the one in the video below.

 

You can do this for extremely cheap. Most of the time, local hotels and convenience stores—gas stations as well—will have the previous day’s newspapers to toss out. They don’t want to take up extra dumpster space; they pay for that, and businesses are terrible at recycling. Set up to come in on a rotating basis, whether each day or once a week to grab their old newspapers. If you can do this with a string of businesses, then you’ll gather your stockpile rather quickly.

You’ll need to ensure your mask is still on. Mix in the proper solution; borax and aluminum sulfate. You really don’t want to be inhaling this stuff. I can’t stress enough how you need to use proper masks and long clothing, gloves if you have them, too.

Installation

You need to make sure your insulation material is kept bone dry. Moisture will cause decomposition since it’s just paper. Get an insulation blower as seen in that video above. You can usually rent one for a small amount of money. Use a shop vacuum to suck up all the external stuff that blows around so you can put it back into the blower tank. If you’re smart, you should only need the blower for a one-day rental.

Once packed into the appropriate spaces, uses a broom or small brush to scrape the external insulation away so you can keep a nice even amount for the finish line: when you apply the sheetrock. No matter what, you’re going to find some of this after you put all the walls on. Like pine needles in January.

Additional Information

Before you go and run out to the Depot, take a look at the dimensions and areas you’ll be insulating in your attic. It’s important to measure, not just assume. This could lead to overstocking, and depending on how long you have the material in your possession, store policies or if you’ve already opened the packaging, you won’t be able to return it. Avoid this by taking your time to ensure measurements are accurate, and using an online calculator to determine the dimensions into a suggest purchase amount of insulation.

If you only insulate up to the floor joists, and you can see the wooden plans like little traffic lanes in your attic, it may now be enough. Thermal bridging occurs when the insulation on either side of a wooden plank are enough, so the heat only has one way to travel—through the wooden plank itself.

R-Value

You need to pay attention to the R-Value of the material you’re using. The higher the value the better the material is for thermal performance, ensuring you won’t be redoing the whole thing at a later date. Most materials have an R-1 through R-5 value per inch, which is something you’ll want to pay attention to. Energy Star recommends an R-38 value in total for proper insulation.

Below is a handy chart on R-Value usually based upon type of insulation used. Keep in mind; different manufacturers create different grade insulation, so their specific R-Values may be differently determined on their own packaging. Furthermore, there are innovations being made every single day. This is a basic chart using the types of material we saw when visiting stores to gather this information.

By Type

Blown Cellulose – 3.1-3.8

Blown Fiberglass – 2.2-2.9

Batts Fiberglass – 2.9-3.8

Spray Foam – 3.6-8.2

Loose Rock Wool – 2.2-3.3

Furthermore, here are the different types of climates and the recommended inches of insulation you should be using per area.

By Climate

Warm Climates

Blown Cellulose – 11” to 13”

Blown Fiberglass – 14” to 18”

Batts Fiberglass – 11” to 14”

Spray Foam – 5” to 11”

Loose Rock Wool – 12” to 18”

Cold Climates

Blown Cellulose – 14” to 18”

Blown Fiberglass – 19” to 25”

Batts Fiberglass – 14” to 19”

Spray Foam – 7” to 15”

Loose Rock Wool – 15” to 22”

Following these rules of thumb should yield excellent returns on your power saving.

Other Insulation Materials: Rigid Thermal Boards

You get an R5 rating with exterior foam rigid thermal boards. At only ¾ of an inch thick, they come with a super high rating and reflective surface along the front of the house. The reflective quality acts as a thermos, so to speak, keeping the exterior elements out, and keeping your heat or cool air inside. You’re not going to rip up your roof tiles or anything else like that; you’re going to install these along the inside.

If you have a steeple style attic, as most homes have, you’ll be cutting these boards to conform to the specific angles. Make sure to put the reflective sections facing outward, so that when you’re done with the installation process you can’t see any of the reflective material. If there are any leaks, or even just thermal bridging from the roof to the interior of your attic, this method will reflect the elements from leaking in. No holes, no sinking ship.

You can view this video below to get the know-how on R5 foam rigid thermal boards.

Nomex Fibers

Nomex is crafted by DuPont, and is a lightweight fiber designed specifically for insulation with an extremely high fire safety rating. Not only is Nomex flame retardant, but also it’s a great method of installation. While the sheets come in less than you’d get if you were to purchase standard fiberglass insulation, or Earth Wool, or anything else along those lines, it can be useful for quick and easy ways to insulate many different parts of your home aside from just your attic.

What Not To Do

There’s a great guide in the video below:

Don’t use your attic for storage. Leave it completely barren, not only to access each part of the flooring to install insulation underneath the plywood, if you have any, but to ensure you have no air leaks.

Don’t forget to check for air leaks before you even begin the installation process. Whether or not you’re using solid material or blown-in material, air leaks ruin the entire purpose of you insulating your attic in the first place.

Don’t hire someone else to do it. No matter how daunting the task may be, it’ll run you hundreds of dollars just for the cheap guys to come through and improperly place your insulation around.

Conclusion

With materials, do’s and dont’s, this guide should be all your need to properly install your new insulation, no matter what your specificity. We’ve covered replacements for fiberglass insulation, Earth Wool, as well as the 100% newspaper fiber. There are only so many ways to insulate an attic, and these are the best ones available.

The post How to Insulate Your Attic appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

DIY Crossbows – Improvised Arms and Ammunition Part 13

In a previous article we looked at how you can make a mini-crossbow for taking small game. The up side to the mini-crossbow is that it is small, light, easy to carry, and capable of taking small game. The down side is that it is like a pistol, therefore less accurate than a full sized crossbow. Another downside is that due to its small size the bow is less powerful than a bow or a full sized crossbow.

A full sized crossbow can not only take small game, but medium sized game as well. With the right tip on the bolt (crossbows fire bolts, not arrows) a crossbow of reasonable power would be capable of taking a small deer, or defending yourself against a human attacker.

The crossbow that I made here was able to sink the bolt about 8” deep into the foam target block. This block is rated for a 70 pound draw weight bow, meaning an arrow fired from a bow with 70 pounds of draw weight will be stopped by the block. For the bolt to sink 8” into the block tells me that if a human were hit with a bolt from this crossbow, and no bones were hit, the bolt would easily pass right through the body.

That makes this a lethal weapon, and also suitable for hunting medium game. The biggest problem is that you have to get pretty close up and personal with any type of bow.  Most shots with a bow are taken at 25yds or less.

Although not ideal for self defense, the crossbow as used in history allowed a smaller, inexperienced person to loft pointed projectiles at distances towards targets they would normally need a skilled archer to achieve.

This article will show a design and method of building a crossbow that can, in a pinch, serve as a hunting and defensive weapon in times of SHTF/TEOTWAWKI. It is also just fun to build and play with just because. It can be a family project to do with the kids and then everyone can test their crossbows and skills against one another.

Getting started

Gathering the materials

To build a crossbow of this design you will need the following materials.

  • A piece of wood about three feet long to make the stock, this can be a simple 2×6 or you could split a small log to shape into the stock if you had no access to other materials.
  • Material suitable for making the bow, I used fiberglass rods as these were readily available at Lowes for $2 each. But in a survival situation you may have to make the bow from wood. Bow making is an art unto itself, the basis of which is that by using wood that contains both sapwood and heart wood along the bow stave you get a level of flexibility that you won’t get with just a branch or regular piece of wood. This is another skill that should be mastered by a primitive weapons user and/or maker.
  • Metal for the trigger, this can be made from steel, aluminum, brass, or even copper if the piece is thick enough to maintain rigidity. Some old crossbows even had triggers made from wood.
  • Bow string – I used paracord. Any good survivalist will have an abundance of paracord, however if you have to, you can make the bowstring from fiber cord that you twist yourself. Survival weapon making is best achieved by practicing the art of exploiting the materials that you have on hand. You can use your bootlace if you have to, or even a leather strip could work in a pinch.
  • Screws. You will need a few to make a crossbow like I did in this article, however there are methods that require no fasteners at all. By making a hole through the stock and inserting the bow through the hole you eliminate the need for metal clamps and screws. The mini-crossbow was made by inserting the bow rod through the stock. You can even make the trigger and trigger pin entirely from wood if you need to, the trigger is just shaped slightly different.
  • Spring. Not a must, but makes it easier to set the bowstring.

Make the stock

To make the stock you just cut out the shape of a stock that feels comfortable for you. It doesn’t have to look exactly like this one, it can be far more complicated and fancy, like a thumbhole stock if that’s what you want to make, but I am following simplicity as much as possible. Once you have the shape of the stock cut out, you have to cut the slot for the trigger. You can do this with a drill as I show in the pictures, but if you don’t have a drill you can chisel the slot with your knife or even burn it through by strategically placing hot coals on the stock until it burns through.

step 1

step 2

Once you have drilled the slot you can refine the stock contours with a wood rasp as shown in the pictures, but you can also do this with your knife or even a rock if you have to. Just do whatever it takes to get it done. Everything here can be done with a knife or even a sharp rock; it will just take a lot more time than it takes using power tools.

step 3

step 4

You can easily see that I wasn’t trying for perfection, as you can see rasp marks in my finished crossbow.

Once the stock has been made you can make the trigger. Just mark the pattern on paper first then hold it against the side of the stock to see if it is shaped right. You can make adjustments to your paper pattern as needed. Once you have the shape determined, then mark your chosen material and cut it out. I used aluminum for the trigger in this crossbow as it is strong and easier to work than steel.

step 5

The small pin protruding from the bottom is to keep the spring in place. Once the trigger is cut and the trigger pin hole is drilled, you can set the trigger in the stock.

step 6

step 7

I used a spring under the front of the trigger to keep it in the up position. This makes it easier to set the bowstring. You can do without the spring if you can’t find anything suitable to use.

step 8

You can mount the side plates at this point. These are not a must have, but I just put them on there as re-enforcement plates and to help dress the stock up a little.

step 9

Next is the trigger guard, this is simple to make; you just need a semi-rigid strip of metal. I used aluminum for this as well because it is light, strong, and easy to work. Use a strip of paper to make a pattern before you cut the metal, once you have shaped the paper then you know how long to cut the strip and where to bend it.

step 10

step 11

step 12

Next on the list is the piece on top to hold the bolt in place. This also acts as a safety as it prevents the trigger from being pushed down from the top. I used an old Saw-zall blade for this as it is tough material and it is naturally springy from being heated repeatedly under use.

step 13

step 14

Next, and last, is to mount the foot stirrup. This is important on a heavy draw crossbow because you wouldn’t be able to draw the bowstring without it. some crossbows have a lever that is used to draw the bowstring, but this one isn’t heavy enough to warrant that. A foot stirrup will do.

To make the stirrup you just need a fairly stiff piece of rod. Bend hooks on the end to attach with a bolt. If you don’t have a bolt you can mount the stirrup simply by drilling through the stock then pushing the ends through the hole and bending them over. It might not be pretty, but it will work. But I had a bolt so I did it this way.

step 15

step 16

step 17

At this point the crossbow is completed except for the bow. As mentioned earlier, there are several options for making the bow; I took the easy way by using a couple of fiberglass rods that I got at Lowes. Of course you might not have this luxury in the woods, in a survival situation, but you just have to keep the mentality of using whatever you can find to get the job done.

step 18

step 19

Last shot

So there you have it, a crossbow made from items that can probably be scrounged up around the house. You don’t have to make the exact same design as this one, but rather use this as a guide to show you that it can be done.

By putting your mind to the problem you can find a solution, you CAN make a crossbow. In a time of need when you need to take game to feed yourself or your family, you can spend a day making a crossbow completely from found items or even completely from wood if no other materials are available. This crossbow is an example of what you can do with a few tools, and a day with the mindset and determination that when I go to bed I will have completed the crossbow.

Here is a video of a guy on youtube that built a crossbow from scratch

And here is another:

Those are a little more complex than the one I made, but I tried to make one that could be done with only your knife if you had to. I think that it is reasonable to say that you could make this design with only a knife, as long as you are patient and persistent it can be done.

The post DIY Crossbows – Improvised Arms and Ammunition Part 13 appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

How to Farm on a Quarter Acre

Farming is a wonderful hobby for many. One of the greatest qualities of any great civilization is the ability to have sufficient food reserves. Any prepper would find it any utter joy not only to have enough food and to produce it themselves is a great victory.

Food is not the same as it used to be. GMOs are the order of the day and the widespread use of pesticides has certainly changed the way food tastes and how healthy it is for us.

While prices of organic food and other healthy alternatives soar, one can only wonder what alternative they have. Cold winters, time and bugs are some of the deterrents of growing your own food.

In this guide, we hope to bring back the lost art of growing food. Any experienced prepper will know that their ability to survive will hinge on being prepared. Being self-sufficient in terms of food or at least partially so is what we aim to achieve.

Do the right thing, in the right place at the right time.

What should go into your quarter Acre?

Deciding what you should do with your quarter acre can be a tricky decision. Planning what exactly to have on this 1000 square foot piece of land and in what quantities is essential to success.

Your ideal quarter acre farm should have just the right amount of fruits, vegetables and livestock.

An example of how you may opt to utilize you 1000 square feet may be:

LIVESTOCK

  • 10 Layers( Eggs) 45sqft
  • 20 Broilers (45-50 sq ft
  • 1 Dairy cow (Milk) 250sq ft
  • 2 Sheep (Mutton) 150 sq ft

VEGETABLES

  • Tomatoes 30sq ft
  • Potatoes 20 sq ft
  • Carrots 20 sq ft
  • Cabbage 30 sq ft

FRUITS

  • Fruit trees 200 sq ft

Notice how we still have 200 sq ft remaining, use this for extra spacing and walk paths as well as a storage shed for tools and for future expansion.

Opting to grow more fruit trees by reducing the number of animals you have is also a viable option.   Others may choose do without livestock or fruits all together and strictly grow vegetables, it is all really a matter of preference.

Growing fruits and veggies that you may choose to keep at you BOL or for when SHTF is also a good way of planning what you should have.

LIVESTOCK

When considering whether to have animals on your farm, one needs to ensure they have the time and interest in animals. Ensuring the necessary resource, willpower, knowledge and space is in place before embarking on keeping any animals will make the process much easier.

Building a stable or animal pen is not always an easy task. Always remember the following rules

  • Choose strong but inexpensive material that will be able to withstand any disturbance or attempt by the animal to break out
  • Try and build your pens as far away from your house as possible to avoid smell and noise.
  • Ensure that your pens are safely secured from thieves and other prey like snakes. Building a raised Pen for animals that are easily attached by snakes and dogs is recommended.
  • Ventilation and lighting also play a big part of your pens.

Remember that hardy animals like goats will not need complicated pens and structures. Try to keep in mind that keeping costs down will ensure that you remain viable.

Housing

Notice in the table below the required housing for animals

ANIMAL HORSE Cow

(Beef)

Cow

(Dairy)

Goat Pig
Area/Animal (Indoor) -Tie stalls 45 sq. ft.; 5′ x 9′

-Box stall 12′ x 8′ or 10′ by 10′

70-100sqft 70-100 sq ft 20-25sq ft 50sqft
Area/Animal (outdoor) 180- 200 sq. ft 100-130 sq ft 100-130sq ft 50 sq. ft 200 sq ft
Family requirements 1 per Riding member Consumption ½ – 1 Animal

Continuation

2 Animals

2

Cows

3 Goats 3 per year

 

ANIMAL Sheep Hen Broiler Turkey
Area/Animal (Indoor) 20-25sq ft 3.4.5 sq ft 3.4.5 sq ft 6-7 sq ft
Area/Animal (outdoor) 50 sq ft 8-10 sq ft N/A 18-20 sq ft
Family requirements 6-8 sheep 6 Hens 24-30 Broilers 12 Turkeys

One must ensure that they have a clean water supply close to the animal pens for easy cleaning.

Ensuring that your pens and animal quarters are regularly cleaned and disinfected is vital; keeping records of your cleaning schedule will also ensure success.

Follow the following rules to clean your animal housing:

  1. Spray the exterior of the animal quarters with insecticide and keep this area free from grass and debris.
  2. Ensure that there is as little dust as possible by either installing concrete floor around the area or keeping the ground damp.
  3. Spray the inside with insecticide and Sprinkle detergent on the floor
  4. Remove all vital equipment clean and disinfect appropriately
  5. Ensure all waste and litter is cleared from inside
  6. Wash thoroughly with a high pressure hose
  7. Disinfect the inside with disinfectant appropriate to the animals you have bearing in mind that disinfectant in not effective when the area is dirty
  8. Fumigate and seal the pen for a period of 24 hours.

Ensure you wear protective clothing while cleaning which includes a work suite, goggles, gumboots and dust must and gloves. A safety hat or full facial mask must be warm when appropriate.

Choosing the right Animals for your 1/4 acre farm

  1. Ask to be accompanied by a registered veterinarian and ask for the vaccination certificates of the animals
  2. Ensure the animals are lively and playful and look like they are in general and good health.
  3. Make sure that the housing for the animals is ready and the food is prepared. Just like humans, animals will experience stress and shock from movement.

Feed

Ensuring that your livestock and are well fed is essential. With the limited space available one needs that you know how much feed you need for you animals. Livestock all have different feeding requirements and as expected the larger the animal is the more feed it will require.

Cattle- 11-20oz of Hay per day

Pigs – 1 ½ oz per day to 5oz of feed per day

Chickens- A full size chicken will consume a ¼ pound of feed per day.

From the above one should be able to determine the feeding needs of other animals of similar size. Every livestock farmer should ensure that sufficient feed is available for one month.  The above quantities should be used as a guide only and specific instruction found on the feed labels should be carefully read.

Health Regime

Like humans, animal’s health needs to be monitored very closely. Livestock like broilers will only thrive in controlled conditions.  Artificial light and heating are a necessity and the poultry house will need to be disinfected.  Developing a good relationship with your local agriculture department or vet will allow you benefit from the wealth of knowledge and experience they have in the area.

Disease Control

Diseases are common among livestock and knowing exactly what to do to prevent and contain such an occurrence is essential.  Prevent and control disease by implementing the following steps.

  1. Ensure your livestock is well fed

Diseases and illness will arise if your animals are malnourished and are not receiving enough food.

  1. Vaccinate properly

Trying to avoid the cost of vaccines will only lead to losing more in the end. A complete hear can be wiped out overnight if animals are not vaccinated.

Vaccinate against the following diseases:

  • Chickens- Mereks disease, infectious bronchitis, Mycoplasma gallispeticum, Salmonella.
  • Cows- Pasteurella shot, Leptospira Pomona, Bovine Virus Diarrhoea
  • Pigs-  parvovirus infection, Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, atrophic rhinitis
  1. Purchase Animals from reputable dealers

Purchasing animals from reputable livestock dealers will ensure that these animals have had the necessary vaccination and are suited to your area.

  1. Quarantine

Reserve space for sick animals by means of creating a sick pen.  Isolating sick animals will prevent the spread of disease to other animals.

  1. Proper Record Keeping

Ensure you keep records of all occurrences and the step you took to solve these problems. This will serve as a guideline as each farm will have different conditions that will prevail

CROPS

Everything begins with the quality of your land and in particular, you soil. There are several things you need to know about your land and soil type is one of them. Different types of soil will determine what crops you will be able to grow and what techniques you employ. There are different types of soil here is a rough guide on them

  1. CLAY SOIL- Water clogs easily and will form a hard compact layer. Very bad for crop germination. Crops with shallow roots system like lettuce and beans are ideal.
  2. SANDY SOIL – Composes a lot of hard material like stones and does not store water well. Its inability to cling together makes it ideal for deep root crops like beans.
  3. LOAM SOIL – Ideal soil type that has just the right balance of clay and sand. Is normally a dark blackish color, great drainage and very healthy

A comprehensive resource on what you can possibly grow in your area can be found on https://www.burpee.com/findgrowzone and by keying in your zip code you will be able to find crops best suited to your area.

Improving the Quality of your Soil

I am sure we have all heard the saying “You are what you eat” Well that is the same thing with soil. Soil will respond to that you feed it.

A good sign that your soil is nice and healthy is in your top soil you will have several healthy worms. These worms feed of the humus in the soil this turns this into excellent nutrients for your plants to feed.

Soil tests are best carried out by collecting samples from different parts of your garden mixing them together and sending them off to a lab for them to be tested. In an instance you would want to test your soil yourself, you should consider buying a soil testing kit from your local agricultural supplies store.

Some of the best home soil test kits are

Here is how to carry out a soil test using a soil tester:

Apart from fertilizers there is a lot you can do to your soil to improve it. Always think green when doing this. The fresher green matter you add to your soil the better it is for it. Another great ingredient for soil is compost. Here is a simple guide on how to make your own compost.

  1. Take fresh leaves, vegetable scraps and others waste material and add place them into your compost pit.
  2. You will need to add a layer of manure to it like leftover food, meat and other scraps from your kitchen.
  3. Cover this with another layer of green matter and sprinkle water on it. Repeat this step until you have the desired quantity of mulch.
  4. You can check on your compost heap after a few days. If it is decomposing properly if you stick your hands underneath several layers of the pile it should be quite warm. Sprinkle a bit of water every few days to ensure that the process keeps going.

A great video demonstrating how this is done can be found below:

Before adding this compost to your soil ensure that if you have any food scraps they completely turned into compost. If they have not you are surely inviting unwanted pest like rodents into your garden. Rodents also mean you will definitely be inviting a few snakes to the part too.

Mulching

During hot summer days and as a water preservation method using mulch is always good idea. Mulch is essentially the covering of the base of your plants with natural waste matter. This creates a natural shade for the soil that will reduce the evaporation of water by the sun.

mulch

Try to cultivate around your plant to create storage for your water but keeping clear of the roots while you do so. When you water this will help to keep the water where it is needed most. This hole will also help keep compost and fertilizer right where it is needed and prevent it from running off.

A great source for mulch is wood chippings and grass cuttings from your lawn. When you think of mulch always think natural, avoid mulching with like plastic. These can easily be cultivated into the soil when they have served their purpose.

Following the step-by-step instructions in the video below will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to build your compost heap.

Fertilizer and Nutrients

The soil contains several nutrients, which are essential to the growth of plants, and as every plant grows, it takes up these nutrients from the soil that it is planted on

Once crops have been harvested from your farm, you must ‘refill’ the natural supply of nutrients in the soil.  You may consider a technique to plough back the stems into the ground for them to form organic matter.

Nutrients can be added — chemical fertilizers, organic matter, and even certain plants from several different sources. This will help maintain the soil’s fertility, so that you can continue growing nutritious and healthy crops.

Using fertilizer is very expensive and can harm the environment if care is not taken. Therefore, before adding fertilizer, be sure to send a soil sample to a laboratory for baseline testing. This will enable you to know which nutrients to apply to the soil, and how much of each to apply.

Fertilizing is all about timing, if too little is added, your farm will not yield as much as it should and if too much is added, or if it is added at the wrong time, excess nutrients will run off the fields and render nearby groundwater and streams unsuitable for plants.

The perfect timing for applying fertilizer depends on the Nutrient Uptake Pattern of the crop. For a given crop, each nutrient has an individual uptake pattern. Be sure to study these patterns when fertilizing your crops.

Consider crop rotation is alternating plants that will infuse different nutrients into the soil.

Choosing Seeds and Crops

Several factors should be considered during crop selection. Choosing the most suitable crops for the current conditions and farming techniques on your farm and planning to manage or avert known problems, can help you have a good start to your farming season.

Identifying the crops and varieties thereof that best suit the intrinsic properties of your farm, can help you maximize yield and quality.

soil

First, be sure to test your soil. Identify which crops you would like to grow, and the soil laboratory will advise you based on the needs of your soil and crops. Every crop has its own fertility needs.

Given the relatively high cost of fertilizer, and relatively low cost of soil tests, added to the fact that soil tests are the only reliable indicator of nutrient needs for your crops, you’d be better off using soil tests than fertilizer.

Tailoring your choice of crops to the current shortcomings of your soils is a clever thing to do, as it gives you higher chances of success. This is because even though fertilizers can help plants to grow in soils that are not naturally suitable for them, their use is expensive and may even be harmful to the environment and the soil.

In some cases, different varieties of the same species may have several different nutrient requirements. Therefore, it is necessary to choose varieties that are suitable for your soil’s own fertility levels.

The length of the daytime is also an important parameter. For instance, onions are affected by day length. So you must select your crops in such a way that the plants’ needs tally with the hours season and the hours of the sun.

Do not select what crops to plant in a given season, if you haven’t first checked the records of the previous season and drawn valuable conclusions… like checking for recurrent disease problems in any particular crop or whether any of the crops did exceptionally well or exceptionally poorly. Evaluating what you’ve done, helps you to plan for what you intend to do.

Make sure you follow planting guides to make sure you do not plant to early or too late.

GENERAL CROP PLANTING GUIDE
CROP Plant before last spring front Germination

temperature

Resistance to cold When to Fertilize
INDOOR (weeks) OUTDOOR

(weeks)

Beans seed Anytime after 48–50 weak At bloom and pod formation
Beets bulb 3 before to 3 after 39–41 fair Planting time
Broccoli 6–8 2–3 before 55–75 strong After transplant (3 weeks)
Brussels sprouts 6–8 55–75 strong After transplant (3 weeks)
Cabbage 6–8 1 before to 1 after 38–40 strong After transplant (3 weeks)
Carrots 3–5 before 39–41 fair Preferably in the fall for the following spring
Cauliflower 6–8 1 before to 1after 65–75 weak After transplant (3 weeks)
Celery 6–8 60–70 weak When transplanting
Corn 2 after 46–50 weak Plant achieves 8-10 inches in height
Cucumbers 2–4 1–2 after 65–70 weak After bloom first and third week
Lettuce leaves 4–6 1 before to 2 after 40–75 fair After transplant (3 weeks)
Melons 2–4 2 after 55–60 weak After bloom first and third week
Onion sets

bulbs

4 before 34–36 strong Plant foot tall and welling of bulb
Parsnips 0–3 before 55–70 strong One year before planting
Peas 4–6 before 34–36 strong After heavy bloom pods setting
Peppers 8–10 N/A 70–80 weak After first fruit-set
Potato 0–2 after 55–70 fair At bloom time or time of second hilling
Pumpkins 2–4 1 after 55–60 weak At running of vines and again when fruit is football size
Radishes 1 before to 1 after 39–41 strong Before spring planting
Spinach 4–6 before 55–65 strong 30% growth
Squash 2–4 1 after 55–60 weak At running of vines and again when fruit is football size
Squash, winter 2–4 1 after 55–60 weak At running of vines and again when fruit is football size
Tomatoes 6–8 N/A 50–55 weak Two weeks before, and after first picking

Water your Plants

Remember that the job of the leaves of your plants is not to take up water! So never water overhead your plants unless you absolutely have to. Always try to water right at the base of your plants.

When you have younger less strong plants, watering above them can cause the stem to break and a long slow recovery will need to take place for this plant to be able to grow again. Ensure you water with a watering can with a spout when possible and water as close as you can to the ground.

One may consider a drip irrigation system for their plans that will help in conserving water. Drip irrigation can be effective but expensive at the same time. Ensure you have a specialist set it up for you and you have the correct water set for the plants that you have

Always remember to try to water in the morning or late afternoon to avoid evaporation of the water by the sun.

Crop Storage

Once you harvest your crops, it is important to store them appropriately, so that they can remain in good condition for as long as you want.

To achieve this, there are several factors you need to consider such as the type of crop (i.e. how perishable it is), the humidity and the temperature of the place where the crops are to be stored, the duration of the storage period, the quantity of each type of crop and the storage devices available.

A few commonly used storage devices for crops are baskets, aluminum foil, fridges, barns and buckets.  It is important to plan and have the appropriate storage devices and places ready before harvest, so as not to risk losing some of your perishable crops in the course of trying to prepare these devices and places after having harvested. Also, be sure to keep your storage devices and places neat and clean.

colorado potato beetle

Dealing with Pests

Below are a few steps you can to reduce the risk of pests attacking your farm, or spreading across it:

  1. Make sure you regularly uproot any weeds that may be growing among your crops.

Obtain clean sowing and harvesting equipment from reliable sources, and try to discover where the sowing and harvesting equipment was originally procured.

Ensure that every person getting into the farm is wearing shoes and clothes that are free from soil and/or plant material before they enter or leave the farm.

Be sure to put on clean rubber footwear and protective clothes if necessary. Provide tools for cleaning one’s shoes and clothes for any person getting into or out of your farm, or leaving contaminated areas for clean areas of the farm.

Make sure you carefully keep track of everyone who comes to your farm. In the event of a new pest being introduced into your farm, this will help trace its origin.

Whenever possible, use proper wash down facilities. Make sure that the water used in such facilities is from a clean source, e.g. water treated by chlorination or any other process, rather than from a source whose water may have flowed over land on which crops have been planted.

Periodically clean and disinfect your equipment

Acquaint yourself with difference pests and diseases that are common to you area and crops.

These measures are simply meant to give you the general attitude that you should have towards your farm and all those working in it or visiting it, to keep it free from pests.

scarecrow

Protecting you crops for larger pests like birds, chickens, and other creature may require you to make a scarecrow. scarecrow is an inexpensive guard that any prepper will appreciate.

When You Should Plant

The right period within which to plant depends on what type of crops you are cultivating and what climate you are working in. Planting calendars are not difficult to find, but be sure to adapt them to your climate.

If you are farming in the Mediterranean regions, note that some crops do very well in cool weather, whereas others only grow well when it is warmer. Most cool season crops, such as lettuce, cabbage and many others, can bear a light frost and are most likely to grow best when sown about two weeks before the last spring frost.

Other crops like peas and spinach, are so cold hardy that they can even be planted “as soon as the ground can be worked,” as can be read on several seed packets. As for warm season crops like cucumber basil and squash, the frost will kill them if you sow your seeds too soon.

The same holds for warm season plants such as tomatoes, eggplants and peppers — if you do not wait until the danger of frost has passed before planting them, a late frost will destroy them.

For farmers in the tropical Regions, it is of the essence to follow the cycle of the rainy and dry seasons to determine what crop to plant when.

FRUITS

Fruits are a wonderful addition to your quarter acre land. It certainly would be great to have fruit all year round. Below is a guide on when you should expect to harvest fruits from the specified trees. It also specifies time from planting to when first fruits as well as frozen storage time.

Autumn Winter Spring Summer Time to fruit

(Years)

Frozen storage (Months)
Avocado  yes  yes  yes 3-15 6
Apples  yes 2-3 12
Bananas  yes  yes  yes  yes 2-3 3
Blackberry  yes 1-2 12
Blue berry  yes  yes 2-3 2-3
Cranberry  yes  yes 2-3 12
Elderberry  yes 2-3 12
Grape fruit  yes  yes 2-3 3
Peach  yes 2-4 12
Raspberry  yes 1-2 12

Planting fruit trees

  1. Ensure that your soil is properly drained

A simple drain test can be carried out by digging a hole that is about a foot deep, filling it with water and waiting for about 4 hours. If the water has been drained from the hole, then refill the hole and wait another 4 hours. If the water doesn’t drain while carrying out this test on either the first or second filling, then you may have poorly drained soil.

The solution to this may be you may need to construct was in known as French drain to improve the drainage of your land. A French drain is essentially an excavated hole filled with porous material like gravel and rocks to allow water to drain from your land.

French drain Video:

  1. Planting depth

Normally, fruit trees can be bought from your local nursery. Trees that come from the nursery will indicate the soil line of stem of the tree plant. Ensure that you adhere to this line as planting to deep or shallow could lead to impeded growth.

  1. Tree spacing

Trees require adequate space to grow and limiting the space between trees limits the size the tree will grow to. As a general rule, do not plant less the 18-25 feet between trees to prevent them forming a hedge (unless this is the desired effect).

Tools and Implements

The tools and implements you will need will depend on how your preference and the complexity of your farming. The types of crops you are cultivating and on what kind of soil you are tilling.

When choosing what tools to use, make sure you take into account the cost and availability, as well as the specific purposes they are needed.  Also, make sure that the tools you use are of high quality so as to reduce the risk of accidents and to increase their efficiency and, hence the yield of your farm.

farm tools

The common tools you will need for you small farm are:

  • Hoe
  • Pick
  • Axe
  • Shovel and spade
  • Rake
  • Garden fork
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Watering can
  • String
  • Cutter
  • Pliers
  • Hose pipe

Back to the Land

Sharing techniques and methods with other is normally the best way to perfect ones craft. Ensuring that you are up to date with techniques and methods of farming and store is a great way to stay a few steps ahead of the crowd.

Keeping abreast with latest trends, technology equipment, vaccines and other information will keep you ahead of the pack. Your amazing well-kept quarter acre plot will be the envy of everyone.

Some of us may have grown up on farms while others may have been lived in concrete jungles, the principles remain the same for thousands of hectares or just a few square feet of garden.

We will love to hear from you on how well your ¼-acre garden project was and other tips and tricks you have up your prepper sleeve.

The post How to Farm on a Quarter Acre appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

17 Tips to Prep on an Extremely Low Budget

When you first start prepping, you might have the overwhelming desire to purchase everything you can. I know I felt that way. I was sure that because I waited so long to get prepared that our family faced a dangerous future. I wanted to purchase everyprething at one time. There was only one issue; we were broke.

Our family lives on one full-time income along with my part time income. We are far from rich. Our bills equal close to our take-home pay. This reality is one that many preppers face on a regular basis. How in the world are we supposed to prepare for an SHTF scenario or even a small disaster, such as a job loss, when we have no income to spare?

Before we delve into the list, I want to encourage you. Prepping can be done on an extreme budget. It may require extra work on your part, and you will need creativity and ingenuity. Now, let’s take a look at the ways to prep on an extreme budget.

  1. Realize It Takes Time

Before we dig in, I want you to know that prepping with very little money takes time. You can’t run out to the store and stock your bug out bag in one shopping trip. It takes time. You will be tempted to feel frustrated and annoyed, but don’t let that happen! Your efforts will come together eventually.

  1. Take A Current Inventory

What do you have that you can use for prepping? You might be surprised what you have laying around your house. Chances are you have quite a few items in your pantry that go unused. It doesn’t stop there! Blankets are essential for warmth. You need pots and pans to cook. Do you have tools for gardening? Do you have any weapons? Take a serious look at what you already have.

  1. Set a Budget

Your next step should be to set a budget for prepping. You may have no disposable income for prepping; that happens to everyone at times. You may have $10 or $20 per paycheck you can spare. Figure out what you can afford.

There is no specific amount that works for everyone. Any budget you set is better than nothing. Perhaps, you have $5 per week to spend. What could you do with $5?

  • Purchase a few bags of dried beans and seal them in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers
  • Buy some seeds and store them in envelopes or mason jars in proper conditions
  • Buy a few gallons of water.
  • Add a few items to your first aid kit.

You might have $50 per month to work with. While $50 per month doesn’t seem like a lot, you could actually do quite a few things with it!

  • Purchase a box or two of ammunition, depending on type.
  • Stock up on fishing lures and line.
  • Buy a few whole chickens and veggies to can homemade chicken soup.
  • Get five dozen boxes of canning jars.
  • Buy one or two sleeping bags.
  1. Alter Your Mindset

It is time to change your mindset. If you want to be ready for anything, you have to be ready to not depend on a store. It is a different way to think. Homesteaders have this mind frame, and it is important for you to adopt it. What do I mean?

  • I have eggs, but I need some berries for the kids. Can I find someone to barter?
  • We need to build a trellis for the bean plants. What do I have around my house that I can use?
  • Don’t toss out a shirt because it has a hole. It can be fixed or used for rags.
  1. Focus on Skill Building

When you are low on money, one thing you can and should do is learn new skills. Learning skills doesn’t always have to cost you money. There are plenty of people who would love to help a mentor, especially if you plan actually to help! Here are some examples.

  • Do you know someone who is an expert at canning food? Ask if you can help during canning days. Learning how to preserve your food is an essential skill for all preppers! Put this at the top of your list, especially if you are a gardener.
  • Does your neighbor have a vegetable garden? Ask if you can come weed and learn how to garden (I would love if someone offered to help weed my garden in exchange for information).
  • Do you know anyone who hunts? You can trail along and watch a hunt. There is no better way to learn how to hunt than to go out with someone.
  • Does your grandmother know how to sew? Sewing is a great skill. You can use it to fix clothes. Plus, it is a craft that can earn you money on the side. You may need to know how to sew to fix a tent. Don’t disregard this skill!
  • Can you start a fire from tinder, kindling and one match? Do you know how to start a fire with flint and steel? Learning how to build a fire is an essential skill. You can do this in your backyard in your spare time.
  1. Save Money Everywhere

Even when we lived on a tighter budget, I realized we were wasting money in places we shouldn’t. How did I realize that? Our family had a no spend month. I wanted to see what we had leftover after we paid the bills and purchased groceries and gas. I was astounded. I would love to tell you that I realized we were sitting on a goldmine; we aren’t. However, I realized there were areas we were bleeding money.

Twos areas you can trim are utilities and groceries. Try things such as limiting your shower time, turning your thermometer up or down a few degrees, hanging laundry instead of using the drier, and unplugging appliances when not in use.

  1. Try Couponing and Watch Sales

You don’t have to be an extreme coupon user, but there are ways to you can use coupons to prep. You don’t need 50 tubes of deodorant typically, but it might not be a bad idea in a permanent SHTF scenario.

Check out the local sales. Once, my local store had boxes of rice on sale for $.75 each, a decent price by themselves. I just happened to have 15 $.50 coupons for that particular box of rice. I spent $3.75 on 15 boxes of rice. Then, I went home and put them in Mylar bags for long term storage.

I love manager specials and markdowns. My local stores seem to have more markdowns right in the morning or late at night. If you stumble upon a whole chicken marked down, you can take it home and boil it. Then, strain the broth into jars. Add pieces of the chicken, celery, and carrots for your homemade chicken soup. Make sure you process it through a pressure canner or freeze it!

  1. Only Stock Up on Food You Eat

In a real SHTF scenario, chances are you won’t be picky about what you eat. However, if you are preparing for a short term problem or job loss, it is senseless to stock up on the food you won’t eat. For example, our family hates beets. Even if canned beets were on the lowest sale ever, all the cans would expire.

  1. Start a Garden

Gardening can be expensive, so I don’t suggest you start off planning to produce enough food to last a year. Instead, pick one or two veggies to try each year, slowly growing your garden. Here are my top picks.

  • Green beans are easy to grow. You can select between bush and pole beans. Pole beans are great for those who are short on land. Green beans can be frozen or canned for long-term storage.
  • Lettuce can be planted throughout the entire growing season, giving you months of free lettuce for the cost of a seed packet and soil.
  • Cucumbers grow up the trellis and provide you with a large surplus throughout the summer. You also will have dozens of jars of pickles and relish canned for your pantry.
  1. Learn to Forage

Unfortunately, foraging is a lost art. People forget that nature once provided all the food we need. There still are hundreds of edibles in the world that grow freely. You might find some in your backyard. While you could purchase a guide for foraging, a library should have plenty of information about wild edibles.

Take a few hours each week to discover what you have locally. Don’t just find the edibles. Take them home and incorporate them into your dinner or lunch. Knowing how and where to find wild food is a great skill for any prepper. You will have food no matter where you go.

If you are wondering what type of wild plants are edible, here are a few common finds.

  • Cattail: You can eat almost the entire plant, usable in everything from soups to salads.
  • Dandelions: Along with medicinal purposes, dandelion leaves are perfect for salads.
  • Lamb’s Quarters: You could add the leaves to your soups or stews. For medicinal purposes, you can use lamb’s quarters for diarrhea, sunburns, internal inflammation and upset stomach.
  • Purslane: The leaves and stems are great for soups and stews, and it can help to reduce fevers!
  1. Purchase Lower Quality if You Must

I typically encourage people to purchase middle of the road priced items. If you have three choices, go for the one in the middle. It may not be the best quality, but it is better than the lowest, without spending extra. You are going to need to buy some things, such as a knife. Having a pocket knife comes in handy. At first, it is fine to invest in a lower quality; you have the knife now. Later, when your money situation is better, you can invest in something even nicer.

  1. Purify Water on the Cheap

You can only live for three days without water. It is crucial for life. One of the first things you want to purchase is a way to purify water or learn how to make a purification system. There are purification tablets that you can purchase for less than $6 in the stores. You could also spend more money for a straw that purifies any water. Building your purification system will take time, but it is a great asset. You need water, especially in an SHTF scenario.

  1. Shop Second Hand and Yard Sales

I love yard sales! You won’t believe the deals you can find. I have found sleeping bags, tents, backpacks, camping equipment, canning jars and more at yard sales. All of the items saved me tons of money.

  1. Focus on the Basics

You might want to purchase everything, but your focus should be on the essentials. What are the essentials? You need shelter, food, water, first aid, light and hygienic needs. The most important out of the bunch are food and water because you will die without them.

First aid kits are important as well. Without medical care and hospitals available, you will be expected to take care of ailments and injuries yourself. Start off slow. There are basic first aid kits you can purchase in stores for less than $20. As time goes on, you can invest into the kits, adding a new item each pay day. The thing about first aid kits is that you can see the benefits immediately. I know I use mine on a regular basis with three kids and an accident-prone husband!

  1. Join a Local Community

Prepping is a worldwide activity and lifestyle. You may be surprised at the number of people locally who consider themselves preppers. See if you can connect with them. Facebook is a great way to find them! Many towns have prepper groups. You can also look up larger prepping Facebook groups. It is a great way to gain information and to find people who may live close.

In an SHTF situation, you have a higher chance of survival when in a group. Can you find people who would want to band together in emergencies? Everyone is responsible for something, but not everything. Best of all, you can focus on the skills you are good at and things you can afford. What does this look like?

  • Someone might have the land to host people in an emergency situation.
  • Someone might be responsible for transporting chickens and taking care of them.
  • You might be an excellent gardener. You bring to the table the ability to produce more food for the group.
  • You or your spouse might be an avid hunter, capable of providing meat for the group.
  • You might be able to preserve food in solar dehydrators.
  • First aid could be a skill you excel in; you would be a huge asset to the group.

While it is important for everyone to be versatile, prepping with a group of people allows you to focus on fewer things.

  1. Live Your Life

It is easy to become obsessed with prepping. At one time, that was my life. Prepping consumed me. Now, I have learned we have to live our lives. I strive to do one thing each day for prepping. What are examples of small things?

  • I might store some water for the day.
  • I could make some fire starters with lint from the dryer.
  • My friends and I may trade some eggs and veggies, further establishing our bartering community.
  • Time spent in the garden counts as prepping.
  • I might take inventory of the first aid kit.
  • Tonight, I could read a few prepping articles.

One small thing each day adds up to a whole lot of knowledge and preps. Over time, all of your efforts will come together. Despite common thought, prepping isn’t for those with a big bank account. Being prepared is a lifestyle for everyone, no matter your income.

Do you have any suggestions for prepping on an extreme budget? We would love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments.

The post 17 Tips to Prep on an Extremely Low Budget appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

47 Foods to Dehydrate for Your Stockpile

Preserving your own food and building up your food storage isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time, money, and effort but putting up your harvest and having food on hand is an essential part of any survival plan. Dehydrating your own food can make the process quicker, easier, and cheaper. You won’t have to spend money on fancy freeze dried backpacking meals or sit around watching a pressure canner.

Along with being shelf stable dehydrated food is also lightweight and healthy making it great for a SHTF scenario. The process of dehydrating food destroys less of its nutrients than canning and it will last longer than frozen food even if you still have electricity. Dehydrators are also very affordable and solar dehydrators can be made at home so you can preserve food energy free.

Be sure to check specific instructions for what you’re dehydrating. Different foods have different dehydrating temperatures and times. Some should even be cooked or blanched before dehydrating.

Vegetables

If you garden or stockpile from your local farmers market dehydrating vegetables can be an extremely affordable and easy way to add tons of nutrition to your pantry. Many vegetables are delicious eaten dry or rehydrated.

 

dehydrated peppers

photo by Well Preserveed on Flickr under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Peppers

While peppers can be pickled or pressure canned dehydrating is still a great option. It’s less work and the peppers don’t get soft like pressure canned peppers do. Chili peppers can also be ground into powder after drying.

 

sun dried tomatoes

Tomatoes

Sun dried tomatoes are absolutely delicious but in much of the world they can’t actually be dried with just sunlight. Thankfully they taste just as good in the dehydrator. Tomato skins left over from canning can also be dehydrated, powdered and added to meals for flavor and thickening.

 

dried zucchini

photo credits to George Wesley & Bonita Dannells via Flickr under the CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Summer Squash & Zucchini

If you have a garden chances are you have tons of summer squash to put up. Unfortunately canned squash can often turn out mushy and flavorless. Dehydrated squash on the other hand keeps some of its texture and flavor and can be tossed in soups, stews, and sauces.

Pumpkin & Winter Squash

Pumpkin or squash purees are easily dehydrated and then reconstituted to go with meals or to use as pie filling. They can also be powdered to create pumpkin spice flavoring.

 

brocolli

photo credits to Backdoor Survival via Flickr under a CC BY-NC 2.0 license

Brocolli

This veggie is packed with vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B6 and antioxidants, perfect for your survival stockpile.

 

Green Beans

Besides rehydrating them for meals many people also eat dehydrated green beans as a snack.

 

onions dehydrated

photo by vigilant20 (דָרוּך) via Flickr under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Onions

Dehydrated onions can be easily ground into onion powder and take up much less space then fresh onions in storage.

 

dehydrated peas

photo credits to vigilant20 (דָרוּך) via Flickr under the CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Peas

Peas are simple to dehydrate making them ready to go for quick meals.

 

dehydrated carrots

photo by vigilant20 (דָרוּך) via Flickr under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Carrots

They can be rehydrated and used in other meals or powdered with other vegetables like onions, peas, and beans to make a flavorful vegetable powder.

Lettuce

It sounds weird but if you’ve had a big lettuce harvest there’s not really any other way to store it longterm. Dehydrated and powdered lettuce can be snuck into smoothies and meals for extra nutrients.

Other Greens

Many greens like spinach, kale, and swiss chard can be dried for a number of uses. They can be powdered, made into chips, or added to meals.

Fruit

Store bought dried fruit can be super expensive but making your own is so easy! Grow your own, look for fruit on sale, or visit a pick your own farm for the best deal.

dehydrated apples

Apples

Just slice them up and spread them on a dehydrator tray. Apples pieces can be dried with or without the peel. Dried apples are great for tossing into homemade trail mix or as a topping for oatmeal or cereal.

 

dehydrated nectarines

photo credits Duncan Creamer via Flickr under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Nectarines

Yummm.

 

dehydrated pineapple

photo by vigilant20 (דָרוּך) via Flickr under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Pineapple

Again, yummm.

 

dehydrated bananas

photo by vigilant20 (דָרוּך) via Flickr under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Bananas

Dried banana slices are wonderfully sweet and make excellent snacks, especially for kids.

 

raisins

Grapes

Make your own raisins! If you grow your own you can have a much bigger variety than store-bought raisins.

 

dehydrating strawberries

photo credits: Michael Coté via Flickr under the CC by 2.0 license

Strawberries

If you’re craving candy but don’t want the sugar, dried strawberries may be the solution. They’re tasty but healthy.

Watermelon

There’s not many ways to preserve watermelon but it can be dried into what’s often called watermelon candy.

Plums

Make your own prunes.

dried berries

Berries

Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and other small berries can be dried whole and added to homemade granolas, trail mixes, or rehydrated for use in other recipes.

Herbs

Most culinary herbs are easy to grow and dehydrate. As herbs are generally expensive but relatively easy to grow you can save a lot of money by growing and dehydrating your own for relatively little effort. You can also dehydrate herbs to make your own herbal teas or remedies. These are just a few examples.

Basil

Easy to dry and a staple in many homes.

Sage

Dried sage is delicious and perfect for making biscuits and gravy!

Parsley

While often used as a garnish parsley can be a delicious addition to many meals and offers loads of nutrients. Some even consider it a superfood.

Cilantro

Having dried cilantro on hand can be perfect for adding to homemade salsa or other dishes.

Mint

Dry your own for some soothing tea.

Yarrow

Dried yarrow helps stop bleeding and can be powdered to pack into wounds in emergencies.

Chamomile

Chamomile is easy to grow and drying your own tea will save you money.

Lemon Balm

Dried lemon balm can also be made into a delicious, lemony tea.

Proteins

Sourcing protein in a survival situation is extremely important. Having some of these dried foods on hand can keep you full and energized in SHTF event.

Ground Meat

Ground meat like turkey or hamburger can be cooked and dehydrated. It’s easy to rehydrate.

 

deer jerkey

Jerky

Almost any kind of meat can be dried into jerky. Even chicken and fish. Plus it’s so much better than store-bought and is a great protein source for survival situations.

 

pemmican

Pemmican

Pemmican is another great way to store protein for survival. It’s typically made from fat, meat, and berries though a vegetarian version can be made with nuts, coconut oil, and berries instead.

 

Dehydrated Pig Skin

photo credits Arnold Gatilao via Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license

Pig Skin

 

Eggs

If your hens are laying too many eggs for you to keep up with consider dehydrating some.

Beans

All kinds of beans can be cooked and then dehydrated to make instant beans. They’re prefect for camping or survival situations because they’re light, shelf stable, packed with protein, and have a short cook time.

Edamame

Edamame is another great protein source for survival situations once it’s dehydrated.

Snacks

These dehydrated snacks are great to keep in the pantry to encourage healthy eating habits and lower grocery bills.

Fruit Leather

Store bought fruit leather or roll ups are often full of added sugar and preservatives. Instead you can make your own at home with pureed fruit or applesauce.

Veggie Chips

Many vegetables like carrots, kale, sweet potatoes, and beets can be seasoned and dried to make a healthy snack.

Candied Ginger

Candied ginger is a tasty treat but is also highly medicinal and easy to make and dehydrate right at home.

Miscellaneous

The abundance of food that can be safely dehydrated will definitely surprise you. Some foods are dehydrated simply to preserve a harvest while dehydrating others makes cooking from scratch easier.

Rice

If you like to cook with or stockpile instant rice it’s surprisingly easy to make at home. Just partially cook regular rice than spread it in a thin layer on a dehydrator tray.

Sprouted Grains

Sprouted flours are good for you but can be quite pricy. You can make your own by sprouting wheat berries or other grains and then dehydrating them before milling them into flour.

Wild Mushrooms

Most wild mushrooms are considered unsafe for pressure canning but any are tasty even when dehydrated. Try drying oyster mushrooms or chanterelles after your next foraging adventure.

Potatoes

Potatoes can be dehydrated in a variety of ways so that they last longer and are lighter and faster to cook, perfect for your survival food storage.

Sourdough Starter

If you’ll be going on vacation or don’t want to take care of your sourdough starter for awhile it can be dehydrated. Then it can be rehydrated whenever you’re ready to start using it again.

Cheese

Cheese can in fact be dehydrated. It’s great to make cheese powders for long term storage or camping trips. Note that it’s best to use less oily cheeses like parmesan or sharp cheddar.

Sauces

Many sauces like spaghetti sauce can be dehydrated similarly to fruit leather and then reconstituted to help make an easy lightweight meal.

Pasta

If you make your own pasta it can be dehydrated and keeps just like the store bought stuff.

 

dehydrated corn

photo credits to vigilant20 (דָרוּך) via Flickr under the CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Corn

Yummm.

Full Meals

By combining these different dehydrated foods you can create healthy, nearly instant meals for survival situations, camping trips, or simply after a long day. Some great examples include dehydrated beans and homemade instant rice with dried veggies or dried spaghetti sauce, dried ground meat, and pasta.

Whether your planning a backpacking trip to test your survival skills, putting up your harvest, or trying to stock up for various emergencies, dehydrating food is a great idea.

What’s your favorite dehydrated food? Are there any great foods missing from this list?

The post 47 Foods to Dehydrate for Your Stockpile appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Building a Complete Armory for Less Than $1,500

Say that you want to build a complete survival armory of guns, but only have $1,500 to spend.  Is it really possible to purchase all of the guns you need and higher quality versions of those guns for that amount of money?

Definitely.  In fact, it’s perfectly feasible to purchase the top five guns you need in your arsenal for just $1,500.

THE 5 GUNS YOU NEED IN YOUR ARSENAL

While there is much debate as to what the top five most important guns to own are, the general consensus has settled upon these categories as being the most critical and versatile.

.22 Semi-Automatic Rifle

No gun collection is complete without a .22 rifle of some kind.  It’s as simple as that.  Even if it’s underpowered for big game hunting or self-defense use, the .22 works wonders for pest control, small game hunting, target shooting, and introducing new people to the sport of shooting.  Since .22 ammo is so small, you can pack lots of it on you, and the recoil and noise is substantially less than other calibers.

12 Gauge Shotgun

With a 12 gauge shotgun, you can go big game hunting with slugs, bird hunting or clay shooting with birdshot, or use it as a devastating close range home defense weapon with buckshot.  The best type to get will be a pump action (as it’s more reliable than a semi-automatic) and one with interchangeable barrels: a long barrel for hunting, and a short one for defense.

9mm Pistol

The benefit to owning a pistol is that you can conceal it on your person or always have it strapped to your side when it would be inconvenient to sling a long gun over your back. You should also select a semi-automatic over a revolver just because it holds more rounds and has a faster reloading time. Since you’re on a budget, 9mm may be the best caliber to choose as it’s cheap and plentiful.

Defensive Rifle

Any semi-automatic rifle with a detachable box magazine that fires an intermediate cartridge like 5.56x45mm NATO or 7.62x39mm will work well as a defensive rifle. You have greater round count and range than any of the previous three weapons, with more stopping power than a pistol and less recoil than a shotgun.

Hunting Rifle

Finally, you’ll need some sort of a long range rifle that fires a heavier bullet to top off your arsenal.  This rifle needs to be able to drop big game at long distances, while being able to be used as a long range anti-personnel weapon.  The best calibers to choose are .308 Winchester or .30-06 Springfield, simply because they are very common and relatively inexpensive.

That may sound like a lot of guns, which is why it’s understandable if you initially don’t believe that you could acquire all of them for $1,500.  However, you’ll soon find out that it’s possible.

.22 RIFLE: THE MARLIN MODEL 60 ($175)

We’re going to cap off the .22 rifle at $175.  The best model to buy in this price range will be the Marlin Model 60 (the Ruger 10/22 tends to be a tad more).

The Marlin Model 60 is one of the most popular and easily customizable .22 rifles on the planet. It feeds from a tube magazine that runs underneath the barrel and holds 14 or 17 rounds of ammunition, depending on the version that you choose.

The Marlin 60 has proven itself to be a reliable, accurate, and durable .22 rifle at an affordable price. While it’s a little heavy for a .22 at five and a half pounds, this simply gives the rifle a very solid feel and enhances the overall build quality.

Many feel it may be better to go ahead and spend the extra $25 on the Ruger. The Ruger is a hardier gun that is like a tinker toy that can be built in many configurations to suit your needs.

SHOTGUN: THE MAVERICK 88 ($200)

For this budget, plan on setting aside $200 for a dependable pump action shotgun.  In this price range, the best new shotgun will easily be the Maverick 88, a lower cost version of the omnipresent and respectable Mossberg 500. While you could probably purchase a used 500 or Remington 870 for this price range, it would be wiser to purchase a new firearm as you know its history.

The Maverick 88 does not come with all of the same features as the Mossberg 500. The ambidextrous tang safety is located behind the receiver. The overall build quality is almost is just as good.  Keep in mind, the 500 is the only shotgun to pass the U.S Army’s pump action shotgun torture test (check out the .pdf here on that, so even by spending $200 on a budget version you’re still receiving an excellent value.

When shopping for a Maverick 88, choose the 6+1 model. You can interchange between the long and short barrels as we discussed before.  The 8+1 model is incapable of mounting a longer barrel.  While you’re sacrificing two rounds in the gun, the trade off is you’ll have a shotgun that is more versatile and it is almost like buying two guns in one.

This video puts a shotgun through its paces:

PISTOL – SMITH & WESSON SD9 ($250)

The good news is that in recent years many major manufacturers of expensive firearms have been manufacturing more economic models.  The SD9 from Smith & Wesson is just one example. You can easily find these for around the $250 range.

The SD9 is essentially an updated version of Smith & Wesson’s previous Sigma pistol. While the Sigma received pretty negative reviews overall, the SD9 is a far superior weapon and is built to many of the same specifications as the highly regarded Smith & Wesson’s flagship M&P pistol line.

The biggest fault in the SD9 is the trigger pull. It’s nothing that you can’t fix, as there are many aftermarket triggers and accessories for the SD9 available that can bring it down to a pull that is lighter and crisper.

For $250, you’re getting a lot of gun with the SD9 for the money, and the fact that you’re purchasing Smith & Wesson’s quality should make you feel comfortable.  Another example of a pistol that you could buy for this price range as well would be the Taurus Millennium PT111 G2.

DEFENSIVE RIFLE: RUGER AR-556 ($550)

The most money you should spend in your budget will need to be on a defensive rifle.  These days, semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15 are just not that cheap, but basic versions from a variety of manufacturers do exist for around $550.

One such example is the Ruger AR-556, which in the time since it was released in 2009 and shown itself to be a very reliable rifle for the money.  It comes with many of the same features as a more expensive AR-15, such as a dust cover or a forward assist.

Since it’s an AR-15, the AR-556 is endlessly customizable, and you can literally transform yours into a rifle that is completely custom from the one you would lift out of the box.  Other examples of AR-15s that you could purchase for $550 include the Del-Ton or the Smith & Wesson M&P Sport II.

Selecting ammo for home defense for the AR-15:

HUNTING RIFLE – MOSSBERG PATRIOT ($325)

We are now left to spend $325 on our hunting rifle, and there are a number of bolt action rifles on the market that you could purchase for this price range.  One of the best will be the Mossberg Patriot.  This is a very simple bolt action rifle available in a variety of finishes, stock types, and calibers (again, go with .308 or .30-06 if you’re on a budget).

Combo models of the Patriot sell with a Vortex scope that is already attached to the rifle, so you won’t need to purchase one separately.  You’ll have to sight it in, but it’s still neat that you’re getting a scope with the rifle out of the box.

Other examples of bolt action rifles that you could buy for around $325 include the Savage Axis II, Remington 770, and the Ruger American.

This is a good video on the Mossberg Patriot shooting elk and mule:

CONCLUSION

As you can see, it’s perfectly possible to build a complete survival armory with all the essential guns you need for just $1,500. A .22 rifle, 12 gauge shotgun, 9mm pistol, defensive rifle, and a hunting rifle are the five guns you need so that your armory can be truly complete, and the five models of guns that we have cited for the major categories all offer an excellent quality at an affordable price.

The post Building a Complete Armory for Less Than $1,500 appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

How to Build These 8 Types of Ladders

Whether you’re trying to make a getaway or restricting access to certain areas of your homestead, you’ll find these handmade ladders do the trick quite well. We’ll cover the following:

  • Build your own rope ladder without wood
  • Build your own rope ladder
  • Build your own framed ladder
  • How to hide your ladders
  • How to make hidden ladders appear out of nowhere

No matter what the case is, you’ll find something useful here. We’ll include a shopping list per section so it’s not all grouped up together. Read this article in its entirety for pro tips before you go running to the nearest home improvement store. Let’s get started.

paracord rope ladder

Build Your Own Rope Ladder Without Wood

This is by far the most simplistic ladder to make, with arguably the best durability. You’ll feel like a soldier straight out of Black Hawk Down using one of these. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Rope (50ft+ depending on desired ladder length)
  • Two metal pegs (optional)
  • Designated area to attach top section of ladder

For step-by-step instructions, look at the video below.

It’s very difficult to explain properly in simple text. Use this video above as a complete guide on how to craft the physical ladder. Now that you have your rope ladder completed, we’re going to discuss mounting it, or leaving it open-ended for our little tricks later on how to hide it.

To mount your rope ladder, you’re going to use the extra rope at the bottom of your newly constructed, rung-based loop ladder. From here, take mounting pegs, such as seen in tent building, and look the rope around them. It’s best to use two for perfect balance. As you’ll see in the video towards the end, if you don’t tie a top loop correctly, it’ll throw off weight distribution when you’re trying to climb upward. If that isn’t secure, you’ll need to retie it so we can have a strong and balanced climb.

Another Way to Build Your Own Rope Ladder

  • Two strands of rope of equal length (scale to desired size)
  • Between 10 – 24 wooden dowel rods, about one foot long each
  • Hole saw
  • Mountain equipment (2-4 mounting pegs, wooden handles to install, etc.)
  • Basic tools

We’re going for a compact size here, and it’ll come in handy for two reasons. First, it’ll be lightweight and less awkward when hanging it up. Second, we’ll be using it in a potential escape plan. Your first step is to power up your circular saw; your dowel rods should be about 1 inch or 1 ¼ inch in diameter. You’ll be putting two holes through each wooden dowel rod. To ensure they are aligned properly, use a leveler and mark each end. They should be one inch from the end so we’re retaining the integrity of the dowel rod.

Step two is a bit tedious; you’re going to make sure the holes are cut in each rod before continuing. When you have these completed, take your rope, and tie a big fat knot on one end. Do this to each of the two pieces, and slide the dowel rods onto the rope from the other side. You’ll have 10-24 dowels bunched together; can you believe you’re already halfway done?

Next, from the bottom of your ladder (the knots) you’re going to slide each dowel one foot up the rope. You’ll be pushing the whole stack up with it, and this will diminish with each successful step you put in. Use a leveler on the ground beneath the two pieces of rope. Make sure they’re both spanning the same length; with the leveler, you’ll know if one dowel will be tilted or not, and can properly adjust. Use the rope to tie another knot to go just beneath that dowel, and do this on each side. The effect should be that you have two sturdy knots beneath your bottom step, and that step will be one foot from the bottom knots of the rope ladder. Repeat this until you reach the top.

Whew, all the guesswork is over and done with. Now it’s time for mounting. You’re going to take the top of your ladder and hoist it up to wherever that section will be mounted. This is in case there was a miscommunication about the required length. You wouldn’t want to be six inches shy of reaching the top after you’ve already pegged it into the ground.

Pro Tip: Use two wooden handles, or a single wall-mounted towel holder (can be bought from any Home Depot or Wal Mart) and mount it flatly to the surface the ladder will ascend to. From here, you’ll have between 4-8 screws securing it, and you can tie the two open ends of the rope ladder’s top around the pole. If not, use some large pegs and hammer them into the surface with the rope tied around the pegheads.

Build A Framed Ladder

This refers to a simple, traditional-styled ladder. Nice and sturdy, we all know them well. Building one of these out of simple, unfinished wood will yield a light build, and be rather inexpensive to make. It also allows you to skip any OSHA guidelines, since you won’t be selling this or using it on commercial property. In this example, the ladder will be eight feet tall.

Take a peek at this instruction video on the same premise:

  • Two eight foot tall wooden posts
  • Nine 2X4 plank sections, 1 foot long each (buy a long board, cut it up)
  • Eighteen corner brackets
  • 40 6 inch nails
  • 72 1 inch screws
  • Recycled Rubber
  • Wood glue
  • Basic tools
  • Jigsaw

Note: For every extra foot of space you plan on adding to this example, add 4 nails and 1 plank section.

This is an extremely simple build, but nevertheless, effective. We’re even going to optimize it for leaning against a building at an angle, that way, depending on the length you choose, you’re garner stability. Let’s get started.

Your posts are fine; so don’t worry about cutting them. If you need, have them cut them to size at the hardware store to the necessary size. They usually don’t charge anything, and it cuts out a step for you. You’re going to lay them down next to each other on a flat, dry surface. Use a few plank sections to make sure they’re properly spaced. If you put one at the top and one at the bottom, it should align the pieces properly when pushed together.

Designate which end you’ll be starting from and get your hammer ready; we’re working from the ground up, here. From one foot up, make sure that your plank is properly between the posts, leveled and all, and use two nails on either side to drive through the posts and into the steps

After you’re done, you’ve got a sturdy ladder held together with 6 inch nails, built of thick, sturdy wood, and stronger than any aluminum ladder out there. Take your screwdriver or electric drill, apply the brackets the underside of each step, and screw them in. You should have four screws per bracket. This is going to hold your weight, plus the weight of whatever you’re carrying upwards.

On the bottom, get your saw ready; you’re going to mark one line on the bottom of each post. You want a 70 degree angular cut. This way, you’ll lean the ladder against the structure you’re climbing and it’ll maintain a sturdy balance.

Use those four extra nails you have. Take your recycled rubber and cut slabs to the same size as the bottom of your posts. Using a couple of nails and some wood glue, attach the rubber slabs to the bottom of your 70 degree slants.

Voila; you have an eight-foot ladder capable of properly leaning up against your house with some traction. You can view this video below for another material that’s good for traction.

Quick Access Ladder Mechanisms

For this to work effectively, you need high-tension nylon wiring. Depending on the size of your creation, its weight may outdo the common capacity of 50lbs of tension. If that’s the case, you can also try using two strips of nylon wire instead of just one to increase ability. To access your hidden ladders when they’re all set and ready, you’ll just need a sharp blade, like a pocketknife.

No Wood Rope Ladder

For example’s sake, you’ve got your no wood rope ladder for accessing a platform in a large tree on your homestead. You have twelve feet to climb, but there’s no way you’re going to let potential intruders know there’s a platform nestled up there. You’re going to use high-tension nylon wire.

Feed one end of your nylon wire through a split in the rope along the bottom, where your first step will be. Throw your rope ladder up onto the platform so it’s out of sight after you throw the nylon over a nearby branch, and have the other end touching the ground. Your ladder is invisible to the naked eye, as is the nylon wire. Tighten it to the best of your ability, and affix it to something small, like tying it around a sizable rock and leaving it in a place where you’ll remember where it is, and leave it at the base of the tree.

When an attacker comes, all you have to do is pull on the wire enough to release the rope ladder, and it will begin to fall. Slash the wire and the bottom section should come tumbling down.

Check out Eric’s video on how to make no-rope ladders too (skip to 2′ 15″):

Wooden Step Rope Ladder

Here’s an example of another type of rope ladder with wooden steps in the video below. We cover a different type of ladder below, but this is a good guide as well.

This one is a bit cleaner. The rung style rope ladder is convenient, but lacks the ability to hold a certain form. Head to the top of your structure and tie the nylon around two nails. Tack those in between the anchors of your rope ladder and the edge of the surface. Let those lines run between the ladder and tree trunk, then back up the ladder on the other side, and over a tree branch. You now have a pulley-styled system.

When you’re on the ground, simply pull on both nylon strings at the same time, and watch your ladder begin to rise from the ground. Make sure your branch is high enough; when the ladder rises, it won’t be neat, but it’ll be hidden above and resting on two high-tension wires. When you need to access the ladder, simple cut the tightly secured strings and look out—that ladder’s falling down.

How To Hide Your Ladders

You can take your rope ladders no matter which type you went with, and very simply roll them up. The rung ladder may need a big of TLC, but putting it in the bed of your pickup and throwing a tarp over it could be a great method of concealment.

Your eight foot wooden ladder, well, that’s a different story. Concealing that isn’t going to be easy, but it doesn’t have to be locked in an underground bunker. Hiding it in plain sight is your best option. If you’ve got a lumber pile, hide it among the pieces. If there’s a garage or barn, use to pieces of thin twine to tie it above to a support beam. You can rip it down in a hurry, and it’s out of sight, out of mind.

Conclusion

We’ve built three types of ladders, discussed where to hide them, and how to set them up for quick access in an emergency. None of these types should cost you very much, and all have proven to be very effective.

Disclaimer

The author of this article and this website are not at fault for any injuries incurred during the creation of this piece of equipment, nor responsible for any injuries incurred from use of finished product. This post is purely for entertainment purposes.

The post How to Build These 8 Types of Ladders appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

How to Do the Heimlich Maneuver

photo: adapted from Jason Eppink via Flickr

Imagine you’re having a meal in a nice restaurant or you’re having dinner with your family. Suddenly, your partner or a nearby person chokes his or her own food. What you do?

A person can only survive up to a few minutes without oxygen. After that time, the brain dies. This is a common scenario even among small children who put various things inside their mouth, such as small toys, or whatever they can find on the ground.

Calling 911 means you have to wait more than 6 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. The main objective of this article is to prep you on a simple but lifesaving procedure which you can perform in a short period of time when someone is choking. It’s called the Heimlich maneuver.

THE SEVERITY OF CHOKING…..

Choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional death in USA. More than 1 million people around the world die of choking per year. In USA, a child dies every 5 minutes from choking.

Most adults are choking while eating. Meat and fish are the main source, however, other foods like vegetables and fruits and various other materials like glass balls, round objects, soft toys can be the culprit too, but this mainly happens in younger children and people with mental challenges.

For years, people have tried various methods to help the choking victim. Back blows, manual chest thrusts and attempting to use one’s finger to extract the object from the throat, are just a few. But the American Red Cross society and American Heart association in 1985, concluded that the Heimlich maneuver is the best way to give first aid in a choking situation.

Back blows, abdominal thrusts and finger sweeping can be dangerous to the victim, even lethal. For an example a back slap can dislodge and move the foreign object further down the trachea (Windpipe) and can cause complete obstruction to the windpipe (trachea), resulting in a quick death by suffocation.

THE HEIMLICH MANEUVER – A GIFT FROM GOD….

Late Dr. Henry Heimlich was a reputable US surgeon who introduced this unique technique in late 1970s, and until now this procedure has saved millions of lives worldwide.

ANATOMICAL BASIS OF THE HEIMLICH MANEUVER …..

Humans has two lungs which can accommodate large volumes of air. After full inspiration about 5 to 6 liters of air remain inside the lungs. If someone can press the lungs in a sudden and powerful pressure the air inside lungs will squeeze out through the windpipe thus expelling the foreign object.

Lungs are well protected by the rib cage, therefore we can’t just use our hands to press them. But when pressing the abdomen, the pressure inside it rises and it’s transmitted to the thorax or chest cavity through the diaphragm. So the lungs can be squeezed via the abdomen.

This procedure should be done with a lot of force and should be repeated until the foreign body is expelled.

More on the anatomy of the airways:

HOW TO IDENTIFY A CHOKING VICTIM? …

It is essential to recognize the victim who is choking early on. The first thing you will see is them in an uncomfortable position. Most experience pain, but it may be some other condition like heart attack, stroke, fainting attack or a seizure.

You may see the victim is gasping for breath often holding the neck with both hands and, the neck bending forward. The victim may soon become pink or unconscious. There might be vigorous coughs. Occasionally, you may hear a whistling sound which, in medical terms, is called as “STRIDOR”.

It may be a complete obstruction in the windpipe or a partial obstruction.

In a partial obstruction, the victim can talk or breathe and a stridor may be present.

In a complete obstruction, the victim can’t talk nor cough and most importantly can’t breathe. You have to act quickly in a complete obstruction, if not the victim may die.

If you carefully examine the environment you will most likely see the choking objects such as food or other foreign materials such as glass balls, soft toys, coins, insects etc.

Awareness exercise: make it a habit to pay attention to adults or children who act weird suddenly. He or she may be choking!

Be your own doctor post collapse. Click here

See the following YouTube to identify choking behavior:

THE PROCEDURE

This Heimlich maneuver can be done even the victim is in standing position or seated position or even the victim is lying down on the floor. And the other thing is it can be done on oneself too in a situation of self-choking.

But the important thing is the victim must be conscious.

First, approach the person. Always talk to him or her and ask what the problem is:

Can you talk?  Can you cough?

You can even ask them directly:

Are you choking?

The victim may nod to confirm.

If he can cough or talk do not try to do the Heimlich maneuver. Do not interrupt the cough and if he can speak encourage coughing. With vigorous coughing, most foreign objects come out easily.

If there are people around you, ask one of them to call 911 while you are preparing to do the Heimlich maneuver.

If the victim cannot talk or cough but he is conscious then you can perform the Heimlich maneuver. It mainly consists of vigorous and repetitive abdominal thrusts done with the sole purpose of dislodging the foreign object and expelling it.

Whether the person is standing or sitting, you have to go behind him and come to his back. Clothes need not to be removed. But if the victim is wearing a tie or any other tight accessory around the neck, you should loosen it or remove it before the procedure. If you have to, just cut the tie or other garments with a knife or a scissor. Be careful not to tighten them and do not waste time more than 15 seconds in doing this.

Then, lean the person forward and give five blows to their back with the heel of your hand.

After going from the behind, wrap your arms around his or her waist. Make sure to keep them tight, with interlocking fingers of each hand. Keep them in between the umbilicus (belly button) and the xiphisternum which is the lowest part of the chest (the ending point of the rib cage in front of the body). Then grasp both hands together and make a fist. Using the fist, squeeze the tummy inside and upwards.

 

If the victim is lying on the floor do not try to make him or her stand. If he is lying on the back, straddle the victim facing the head, and keep your hands as mentioned above. Push the fist inward and upward and squeeze the lungs. Then most likely the foreign body should come out.

 

Repeat the procedure until the victim can talk or cough on his own. Once he can cough then foreign body will come out. Encourage the victim to cough well.

Here’s how it should be done:

 

 

THE HEIMLICH MANEUVER IN SPECIAL SITUATIONS…..

ON A PREGNANT WOMAN NEAR TERM OR ON AN OBESE PERSON…

Pregnant and obese people have a big tummy and it’s difficult to squeeze the abdomen using the Heimlich maneuver, so you should adjust to this situation

Place your hands a little bit higher on their chest around the base of the chest bone (sternum) and do the procedure:

ON AN INFANT…

If the victim is an infant younger than 1 year, it is dangerous to perform the Heimlich maneuver the usual way. You can easily squeeze the abdomen and damage the internal organs. So the position and the force of performing the Heimlich maneuver is little bit less than in adults.

You can sit down in a chair and hold the infant on your forearms and the child should be facing down. Your hands should be resting on your thighs or lap.

First, give 5 back blows gently with the heel of your palm.

If it does not work keep the child face up and resting on your forearms and still keeping the head lower than the torso. Then keep your index and middle fingers of your dominant hand at the center of the chest bone, and press down hard and with force.

Repeat this procedure at least 5 times or until the infant starts breathing, crying or coughing.

PERFORMING THE HEIMLICH MANEUVER ON YOURSELF…

There can be many instances where you may be alone and choking may occur. The good news is you can perform Heimlich maneuver on yourself.

Use your both hands and make a good fist. Keep it on your tummy just above the belly button. Then squeeze your tummy inside and upwards. This can be painful but keep doing it until the object is expelled and you can breathe or cough.

When you are able to breathe, start coughing to expel the choking object.

IF THE VICTIM IS UNCONSCIOUS OR UNRESPONSIVE…

With severe or complete obstruction the victim may become unresponsive and not breathing. It is mainly because lack of oxygen supply to the brain. In this scenario, you must supply oxygen to the brain, else the victim might die.

In our body, oxygen is supplied via the blood. Therefore you should activate the circulation system by doing CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or chest compressions).

911 must be called in this situation ideally by someone else rather than you (while you’re doing CPR). Do not attempt to do Heimlich when victim is unconscious.

The victim should be lying flat on the floor with his face up. No need to remove clothes but it is better to remove thicker ones like sweaters, jerseys etc. Unbuttoning should be enough to expose the chest.

Make a strong fist using both hands and keep it on the chest of the victim, preferably in the middle of the breast bone. Your elbows should be straight, as this will allow you to put much of your weight. Then push down as hard as you can. It should be done at a rate of 100 pushes per minute (which is faster than one per second).

After 30 chest compressions, open the victim’s mouth and perform rescue breathing. While opening the mouth look for foreign objects, and if you can reach them with your finger, then try to remove them. Just make sure that you don’t push them further and into the throat.  Continue CPR until help arrives.

SUMMARY… 

Choking is a very common scenario. It can happen to anyone, regardless of age. This article will prep you for any unexpected, sudden choking scenario which you have only 6 minutes to save someone from certain death… and that someone may be you!

The Heimlich maneuver can be performed on yourself by you if there is no one around. Heimlich maneuver is the best procedure to relieve choking and have saved millions.

Be a rescuer – make a change – save a life – save the world.

Disclaimer

The information in this article is provided “as is” and should not be mistaken  for or be a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your physician before trying any of the advice presented on this page. Always seek the help of a professional when delivering a baby. Neither the author nor www.SurvivalSullivan.com or the company behind the website shall be held liable for any negative effects of you putting into practice the information in this article.

The post How to Do the Heimlich Maneuver appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

How to Make a Travois Like the Native Americans

The travois, a tool constructed by the Native Americans, is also known to be a drag sled. It was used to carry different items and loads of necessities over the land. It consists of poles attached to a platform, netting, or a basket. The American Native would be attached to the dogs, and when there was a bigger load, it was attached to a pack of dogs. Generally, they were less effective than the dog-sleds that had runners; however, these could be used when there is no snowfall.

A travois were often used to carry the meat back into the village from hunting or even to help migratory tribes relocate their campsites. The dogs were great for pulling the travois as each dog could pull about 20 to 30 pounds on each travois. The Native Indian dogs could pull loads of up to 50 pounds and traveled at two to three miles per hour.

Once horses were used in North America, there were many Plains Indian Tribes that began to create larger sized travois. The creation of a horse-drawn travois was much simpler than the ones for dogs. A horse could carry loads four or five times the amount that humans or dogs could carry. It consisted of placing two teepee poles over the back of the horse and attaching a platform between them. This meant that the horse could carry the teepee, as well as the load that needed to be transported. Their children often hitched a ride on the back of the travois attached to the horse.

Types of Travois Platforms

There are two types of travois platforms. These are the ladder platform and the hoop platform. It did vary per tribe, but the plains tribes utilized both types and altered the design slightly.

The Ladder Travois Platform

The ladder travois platform is a very simple design. It was typically made for the horses to carry the loads. The construction was that of a ladder. It was made using a series of sticks that were attached using rawhide or even cordage that was fastened across the poles that dragged the ground. The wood that was used as the cross sticks was made from the same wood as the poles used for the main travois construction.

The Hoop Travois Platform

This type of platform takes more time to build compared to the ladder frame. The wood that is used for the hoop needs to be the same wood that is used as the dragging poles; though there were times when other types of wood were utilized. The main form of the hoop that’s constructed with a pole or sapling, is either in an oval or circular shape. At times, there were multiple saplings used to make the round frame. It’s recommended to use green saplings as they more bendable, making them easier to work with. The measurement should not be over ⅝ inches thick and it should be at least five feet long. For the perfect construction, the sapling should be tough and have good elasticity.

In order to shape your pole, you will need a heat source. The pole will need to be heated over a fire, or some other heat source, very evenly. The ends of your poles need to be trimmed before you heat the wood up so that they will fit together. It will help form a solid joint when it is bound with the rawhide. You will need to be extra careful to not burn your wood. After the hoop has cooled down, the bark will need to be taken off. This process will result in the ends being bound to your rawhide.

If the hoop is made of many saplings, it can be done without any heat. Each of the saplings will need to be less than one inch thick and about three to five feet long. They will need to be cut while they are still green with the bark peeled off. This type of hoop needs to be wrapped up entirely around the frame in order to bind all of the saplings tightly together.

Both hoop forms, the single sapling, and the multiple saplings will need to be set in the circular or oval shape while they dry. This can be done using twine that is tied in a crisscross design. You will need to stake the shape into the ground or use another hoop to tie it together.

Once the hoop is ready, it is time to make your netting. The netting can be made of cordages, such as hemp, leather, or rawhide. There are different variations of netting for the design of the hoop. One of the more common patterns is a tight circle type weave. It is very similar to the dream catchers of today.

After the hoop is done, it can be attached to your poles. It will need to be situated so that it sits on the back of the dog, right behind the tail. This way the dog does not get distracted from the job of pulling your travois. You will need to make the netting so that you can attach the cloth to the poles for transporting your belongings.

Blackfoot travois

Travois Construction

Constructing a travois was a chore that was traditionally done by the women. At times the men would aid in the construction aspects, such as building the hoop platforms and the netting. Oftentimes a group of women that would gather the supplies, and then construct numerous travois at a time. They would gather large amounts of wood in order to save time. The assembly would take them around one whole day so that they could finish one of their daily chores. Once they had completed building the travois, they could then move onto the next task that protected their way of life.

Some Native Americans that were native to the State of Missouri, such as the Mandan, the Hidatsa, and the Arikara, would decorate their travois with various earth colored paints. Red was a very popular color among most tribes, and so they would often paint their entire travois red. Their hoop was woven by a highly skilled individual that was well known for their skill of weaving hoops. It was considered a profession of sorts during those times. In most tribes, the size of their travois would offer a sense of status.

The travois has quite a simple framework. It was constructed with two long poles fastened at one end and then connected to a platform. The hoop or the ladder is then attached to these poles and situated behind the tail of a dog.

The poles are made of lightweight wood, such as maple, ash, plum, or birch saplings. They are around seven to eight feet long and have larger ends cut to be flat in order to help keep these poles drag smoothly and evenly. At the top of the poles, they are notched so that the poles hold firm when they are bouncing around while being dragged. They are bound using rawhide, cordage, and tendons that are applied while they are wet so that they form a solid joint as they are dry.

Constructing Your Dog Harness

Many tribes utilized different types of harnesses for their dogs so that they could pull their travois. There are a couple different options to make these. One of the types is a saddle that is placed separately on the dog from your travois. This is so that the travois can be placed on and off the dog as needed. The other harness strap is a system made of straps. One of the strap goes across the front of the dog, and the other strap goes under the dog’s belly. After placing the straps, they are then attached to your travois poles where the poles are bound together.

The style of the strap harness uses a small type of pad or style of saddle. It is fitted onto the dog and fitted to your travois where your poles are fastened together. The pad used to be made as a piece of the travois. It would be attached to your poles under the joint in order to keep them from rubbing on the shoulders of the dog. The straps were made of rawhide, along with leather and arranged through your pad in order to have one strap reach under the dog’s belly. There would be a strap that went across their chest, as well as a collar that was put around the dog’s neck. It also included some ties in order to secure the person’s load onto the travois.

The saddle is a thick pad that is a type of cushion to protect the back of the dog. The straps are made of rawhide and some heavy leather. It is attached to the dog’s saddle. There is one across the chest and the other strap goes underneath their belly. The strap on the belly is tight, just like the cinch on a horse saddle. The ties are put on the saddle so you can hitch the travois. This pad is made on a case using rawhide, leather, or even both. The insides are made of different layers of fabric, such as horsehair or wool. Your completed saddle will sit on the withers of your dog’s back. The belly strap will be cinched and situated where it comes up behind the dog’s rib cage.

There is no one way to make a travois as it depends on what you wish to use it for. However, below we’ve outlined the best way that we’ve found on how to make an efficient travois to help you with all your hauling needs. The steps below are to make an 18-inch dog travois.

Materials and Tools Needed

  • 5-foot-long (1/4 inch in width) narrow presoaked rawhide lace
  • 4 willow sticks
  • 2-inch square piece of soft leather (saddle)
  • 5-inch long piece of soft leather (lacing)
  • 1/2 inch x 3-inch piece of soft leather (dog’s breast collar)
  • 2 3-inch long strip of soft leather (ties)
  • 5-inch long strip of soft leather (belly strap)
  • Scissors
  • Leather hole puncher
  • Pruning shears
  • Sandpaper
  • Utility knife

Directions

  1. Peel bark from the 2 willow sticks. Prune and sand any jagged, rough edges.
  2. Soak the 1-inch of the skinnier end of each pole, and all rawhide stripes, in water and leave overnight.
  3. Lay down the willow poles side by side and tie the top ends together with the presoaked rawhide. Go around the tips several times covering around 1-inch of the top tips.
  4. Cut one of the poles 6-inches and the other 8-inches. Tie these together with wet rawhide stripes. Place the 6-inch pole roughly 8 inches from the bottom. Place the 8-inch pole roughly 5 inches from the bottom. Wrap everything securely.
  5. Cut six to eight vertical poles for the frame and overlap those with the horizontal poles. Secure everything with the rawhide strips.
  6. Use 5-foot of the rawhide strips and tie it to the bottom of the frame. Continue spiraling until you reach the saddle area. When you reach the top, cross over to the other side and continue spiraling down.
  7. Lay the leather saddle piece on a flat surface and place the tips in the center. Position the tips so that the two poles lap over the edge. Fold over the piece of leather and lace it with the strip of soft leather. Tie securely.
  8. Tie a long rawhide strip to the bottom of the frame. Loosely bring this up to the pole and pass through the center hole from the inside and out from the top and continue.
  9. Punch a hole in both ends of the collar. Use the three-inch leather strips to tie the collar to the center of the saddle. Tie it to each of the drag poles behind the dog’s forelegs.

Note: These instructions can be modified to make a full-size travois.

Packing Your Travois

Packing up your travois is quite simple. You will need to consider how much your travois weights and how much your dog is able to carry. Tribes would use a wolf-like dog breed, which meant that it was able to carry more weight than a typical dog. These larger dogs would often carry one hundred pounds, or even higher, in a single travois. Though, you should ensure that the weight of your travois is 20% of the dog’s weight to avoid the dog being injured mid-journey.

When you pack your travois, the heavier items will need to be placed on the bottom. You can utilize the travois for items like firewood, the game that has been hunting or transporting your camp should the SHTF. Once you have packed up your travois, you will need to use rawhide, leather, or cordage straps to tie your travois in a way so that the contents do not move. If the items move around, it can complicate the transportation as the dog may become off balanced.

To fasten them properly, tie the straps to the top of the poles. Wrap them around the poles going down and strap the items down. Continue going down the poles to ensure no movement of the items.

Additional Notes

Native Americans and French fur trappers greatly used a travois. They found several advantages of using a travois to haul anything from teepees to supplies, or even for people who could not walk. It can be pulled by humans or attached to horses, dogs, and other pack animals.

A travois is simple to construct as you only need a few supplies to make it. If you have long poles, cordage, and a saw blade or ax available, then you can make a travois. It can slide best in mud, grass, snow or forested terrain. Though it is less efficient than other wheeled options, you can slide a travois over any obstacle or terrain that is otherwise difficult to travel over with a wheeled transport.

In the past, the travois used to be greased to prolong the life of the travois. Nowadays, there is a collection of animal and vegetable greases and oils to do the same. You can also stain or use a polyurethane coating to protect the wood. If the poles dry or shrink, you can either retie the soaked rawhide ties or tie over the existing strips.

Final Words

A travois is a tool that was created and utilized by most people in history. They were used to travel from camp to camp, to collect meat from hunting, and more. If the SHTF, you will need a travois to transport your items that you gather. You will not be able to set in one spot for long, and you can utilize the travois to move your camp. Although we went over different materials, you can compensate for not having these materials by finding substitutes that work in the same manner.

An example of a travois; the poles can be substituted with tent poles and the netting could be replaced with an old basketball net. When creating your travois, you can be as creative as you like.

If you wish to keep the travois traditional, you can use the instructions that we have outlined above. No matter if you make a travois to be pulled by yourself, or by a pack animal – it’s bound to make hauling your tools and supplies easier in the long run.

The post How to Make a Travois Like the Native Americans appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

DIY Mini Crossbows – Improvised Arms and Ammunition Part 12

In the event of SHTF or TEOTWAWKI, any kind of weapon that you can make to use for hunting or self defense will be a huge asset. Learning a skill like making your own weapons helps to ensure your safety and improves your chances of obtaining food.

This is also a valuable skill that gives you something that you can barter with if you care to do so. I wouldn’t give the other guy too good of a weapon though because I wouldn’t want them to be able to turn them on me. But a small crossbow for hunting small animals would probably be okay.

Mini-crossbow

So, today we will make a mini-crossbow. This is pretty easy to make, it has about a 25-30 pound draw weight, and can be used for taking small game. So, let’s get started.

Materials list:

  • Piece of wood– I used two strips of 3/4″ that were 1/2″ thick and about 15” long and glued them together.A single piece of wood is good too, and saves a step because you don’t have to glue it. You could also use a chunk of plastic or metal if that’s all you have to work with.
  • A grip– I used an old AK47 grip but you can use anything or just make a grip from wood. You could even make it without a pistol grip but it will be a little cumbersome to fire it.
  • Trigger material – I used a piece of stiff, durable plastic, but you can use aluminum, brass, steel, or even wood for the trigger.
  • A spring – You can add a reset spring for the trigger so it stays in position, but you don’t have to. It’s just easier to set the bow string with a spring loaded trigger.
  • Glue – I used glue to glue the trigger and the wood strips together.
  • Bow– I used a fiberglass rod but you can use anything that you can get your hands on that is flexible. You can make it from metal or wood, as long as it is good and stiff and flexible. Since it is a short draw a stiff bow allows more tension in a short space.
  • Strip of springy metal – For the “bolt retention spring” (or whatever it’s called, the piece on top that holds the bolt from falling off)
  • Length of paracord – For the bowstring. You can also make a bowstring from dental floss.
  • Various screws -For the grip and anything else you need to attach together.
  • Large nail for the trigger pin – Or other suitable metal rod.

Tool list:

The more tools you have the better, but you could make this with just a sharp knife if you really had to, it would just take a lot longer.

  • Drill – For drilling holes.
  • Various drill bits – For the holes, duh.
  • Saw – For cutting the wood.
  • Rasp – For various functions.
  • Screwdriver – For screwing the screws.
  • Knife – For cutting things, that’s what knives are for.

Getting started

The first thing to do is get the stock ready. If you aren’t exactly certain of the length just make it a little longer, you can always cut it off. I cut mine off twice and drilled the hole for the bow three times before I got it right.

piece of wood

wood sticks glued together

Next, cut the slot for the trigger. To do this just mark where it will go, drill several holes through the stock, then lean the drill back and forth to break through the holes into a slot. Finish the slot with a rasp or knife to make it neater.

holes drilled for trigger slot

trigger slot mostly done

Mark the top of the stock for the bolt groove.

I cut the bolt groove on mine with a Dremel tool, but you can use the knife to carve it out if you have no other means. Like I said above, the more tools you have the better.

trigger slot and groove marked

You need to make the trigger before you drill the pin hole for it so you will know where to drill the hole. To make the trigger first cut a pattern from paper. Test fit the trigger pattern, and make adjustments it until you think it is right. I still had to make two triggers because the first one wasn’t quite right. Then I made two correct triggers and glued them together with gorilla glue to make it stronger.

trigger pattern

trigger and parts

Once you have the trigger made then just hold it on the side to determine where to drill the pin hole. When you have figured out where to position the trigger, mark for the pin hole.

test fit trigger

Drill pin hole and then install trigger and trigger spring. Use washers on the side of the trigger to keep it stable and centered if there is open space.

trigger installed

Now that you have the trigger installed you are halfway home. Next on the list, mount the grip. To mount the hollow AK 47 grip I used I put a block of wood inside it and a screw through the bottom to hold the block in. then I put a screw down through the stock to hold the grip on.

grip installed

side view grip installed

Next you will mount the bow. For this design I just used a simple fiberglass rod. To mount the rod/bow I just drilled a hole through the stock at the point where I thought it would work.

The first hole was wrong, the bow flexed and the string reached the trigger, but I heard creaking and didn’t want to the rod/bow to break so I re-drilled another hole about 1 1/2″ closer to the trigger. You can see the excess in the picture below, I just cut it off once I was happy with the position of the rod/bow.

bow installed

bow and trigger test

Once I had the grip and bow mounted, and the trigger installed, I finished cutting the bolt groove. Like I mentioned earlier, I used a Dremel tool to cut it. try to make it rounded on the bottom and like a half  tube for the bolt to slide through. I didn’t get mine as good as I would have liked to, but it works.

The more centered and well fitting you make the bolt groove, the more accurate the cross bow will shoot because it acts like a barrel for the bolt. Once you have the bolt groove cut you just need to make the springy part that holds the bolt in place when the bow is cocked ready to fire. Otherwise the bolt will just fall out.

bolt holder downder spring

side view finished bow

This part has to loop over the trigger and then lay on the bolt groove. You cock the bow by pulling the string under this spring and setting it into the hook in the trigger. Then you slide the bolt under the spring and the spring holds the bolt in place until you pull the trigger.

top view finished bow

Making the Bolts

Now that the crossbow is done you need to make some bolts to fire from it.

make bolt point

Just like the trigger and bow placement, it took me a couple times before I got it right. The first bolt I made looked great, but it was too thin and the bowstring went over it. I made the point from a piece of galvanized metal and mounted it into a slot in the end of the bolt haft. Then I tied it on with dental floss and finally glued it in place.

bolt point and arrow slotted

bolt point in slot

bolt point and dental floss

bolt point tied and glued

Like I said though, as good as it looked it was too thin and didn’t work. This is to be expected when you make improvised items. That’s sort of the basis behind being improvised; it means there are no technical drawings. I am just making it up as I go.

The next bolt I made was the same diameter as a regular arrow. I made a broad head point from a piece of galvanized metal and tied/glued it into the tip of the bolt shaft the same as the other one, it was just bigger. I then simply used duct tape strips to make the fletching.

broadhead bolt point

broad head bolt with duct tape fletching

The end result:

diy mini crossbow end result

Demo vid: (plus more info on making the arrows):

Last shot

When I finished the crossbow I took it outside to shoot it for the video. I fired two shots into the foam target and they hit with a nice THWACK! and wobbled the target back a little bit.

You could tell I was tickled with my new toy from the smile and giggle at the end of the video. However AFTER the camera was turned off something happened that I wish I had caught on camera. I wondered how far it would shoot, so I pointed the bow slightly up, expecting the bolt to barely make it the 75 feet or so the house.

I figured the bolt might make it to the edge of the wall and land in the grass. Instead it zipped in an arc and landed IN the gutter and with that same THWACK! Stuck in the asphalt shingles curled over the edge of the roof.

That impact was at about the apex of the arch so if I doubled that number it means the bolt would have flown 150 feet, or 50 yards, and I barely pointed it upwards. Now, I am in no way saying it would have any accuracy or do any great damage at that distance, but just that it made it that far and struck with as much authority as it did surprised me.

If it stuck in an asphalt shingle deep enough that I had to wiggle it out then I would say that it would stick in flesh. So that takes it from a small game weapon to a potential deadly weapon. If ten of you had them and lofted bolts in the general direction of a bad guy they could take hits, and the bolts would stick in flesh for sure.

Is it a great weapon? Not really. Would it take small game like rabbits? Yes, if you could hit them. Was it easy to make and fun to play with? YES, and it gives a good idea of what the full sized cross bow I was working on will do and we will look at that as soon as I finish it, write an article about it, and make a video for it.

Here is a video of a guy making a mini crossbow with Popsicle sticks:

I just had to show this guy. Poor Germans aren’t allowed to have real guns so this guy makes in sane toys, like this full auto crossbow. (I meant poor as in awwww, not as in no money):

The post DIY Mini Crossbows – Improvised Arms and Ammunition Part 12 appeared first on Survival Sullivan.